Recommendations to control deer in Ottawa Hills are met with controversy

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OTTAWA HILLS, OH - (13abc Action News) It's been a highly debated and divisive topic for years.

Monday, the Wildlife Management Task Force gave its recommendations to control the deer population in Ottawa Hills.

"They're doing a comprehensive approach and we're really thrilled about it," Sarah Mierzwiak, who agrees with the suggestions, said.

"I feel they're very bias," Stacy Davis, a village resident argued.

There are some very strong opinions, but task force members say something needs to be done.

"Culling deer causes a rebound effect and more deer will populate," Davis said.

"We're not anti-deer, we're pro-environment and that means a balanced environment," Mierzwiak said.

Back in December, after an increase in complaints, the village formed the task force.

For six months, members held public meetings, met with experts and did research.

They came up with four recommendations.

Establish a wildlife management program, which would offer suggestions on how to keep deer off of and away from residential properties.

Crack down on deer feeding. Task force members say when the deer start to rely on humans, the closer and more invasive they get.
Those who don't follow this rule would be subject to citations and hefty fines.

They also suggest ongoing monitoring, like deer counts and public opinion surveys, so they can keep tabs on the issue down the road.

Finally, the most controversial recommendation, is a controlled bow hunt, to reduce the population.

"We can think of something a lot smarter, more ecological, and more kind to our society than just killing animals because we don't like them and they eat our plants," Davis said.

Task force members and cull supporters say it's more than just plants. It's about safety and the health of the deer population.

Plus, they say the hunt would be controlled and supervised by police.

Ultimately, council decided whether to hunt is a decision best left to the voters.

"This is their community, they should make that decision," councilman Corey Hupp said.

In order to get it on the ballot, they need to collect 173 signatures.

If/when that happens, the final say will come in November. If voters approve the measure, it will give council the authority to initiate the cull.

Back in December