Controversial Proposal to Curb Ashland’s Deer Population

As more deer show up in Ashland, more concerns are arising about what to do about them.

“The deer cause thousands of dollars worth in damage, they pose a safety issue and people and their dogs have been attacked on the streets by deer defending their territory or young,” said Ashland resident Don Stone.

That’s why Stone is proposing a controversial move…

“I’m proposing that we have an urban hunt,” he said.

An urban hunt would allow experienced bow hunters to kill deer in secluded wooded areas inside city limits.

Stone said it would be a safe practice because hunters would be shooting down from a platform. That way if they miss, the arrow would go straight into the ground. He also emphasized that using a bow and arrow would mean hunters would have to be in close proximity, lessening the likelihood of missing.

As for the meat, he said hunters would either use it themselves or give it to a food pantry.

Some Ashlanders like Sarah Paul agreed that deer are a problem when they ruin gardens or attack people and dogs. She said she wished they would just stay in the woods and not come in the city. But while she sees them as a nuisance, she doesn’t think hunting is necessarily humane.

“So often deer hunting isn’t humane and they’re wounded and then they run off and die in pain and terror and I don’t like that,” said Paul.

Other Ashland residents view the deer not as a nuisance, rather a neighbor.

“I really feel that the deer are a part of this community. I think the rights of the animals need to be protected as well,” said Susan Vanrenterghem, an Ashland resident.

At this point Don Stone’s proposal is, just that, a proposal.

Stone said many cities in the Midwest have used urban hunting successfully.

However, up to this point, according to a posting made online by Ashland City Councilor Carol Voisin, the Ashland City Council has “…expressed strong disapproval for taking up issues related to urban deer.”

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