Bloomington, IN is known as a place where humans and nature co-exist. But in recent years, a small group of people has decided our deer population is a problem in need of a remedy. Now the city is poised to vote on recommendations by Bloomington’s Deer Task Force that would allow shooting deer in our city neighborhoods and Lake Griffy. We need to come together to oppose this by NOV 28, when City Council will hear discussion on the issue.
Many of the initial deer concerns arose after the deer ate expensive landscaping in some private yards on the SE side of town. Other concerns, like traffic accidents, have been noted, but the number of deer-vehicle collisions has remained steady, according to the Task Force's own report, even declining from 2010-2011, demonstrating that deer issues are not something that suddenly need drastic solutions. But now Bloomington’s Deer Task Force is recommending exactly that.
In addition to suggestions like building fences and practicing good driving, Bloomington’s Deer Task Force recommends deer sharpshooting and trap-and-kill operations in and around our city neighborhoods, and shooting and hunting at Griffy Lake. Additionally, bow-hunting, already not prohibited, is further encouraged on private property within city limits.
Allowing guns and traps into our neighborhoods and parks has serious consequences for Bloomington residents. It threatens both our safety and quality of life. Moreover, it creates a "solution" that is worse than the problem. Residents worried about safety in relation to deer, for instance, do not feel safer knowing that deadly weapons --and possibly wounded, fearful animals--will be in their neighborhoods. Additionally, wildlife experts say that hunting does not work to curb the deer population, because deer re-populate when there are fewer of them. So lethal methods, by design, would need to be repeated year after year, an unsustainable and costly approach.
Lethal proposals have turned deer management into a divisive community issue when we could instead all be working together on better solutions to specific issues. Non-lethal approaches such as public education and taller fences have not yet even been attempted on a county-wide scale.
Additionally, a majority of the Task Force’s own survey respondents did not favor lethal approaches to human-deer conflict. Bloomington residents won’t commit to years of shooting near their homes and yards. This is simply an unworkable plan.
Please sign the petition to make clear that shooting deer in our parks and neighborhoods is not the way to deal with perceived human-deer conflict. We deserve better.