A second urban deer hunting season has ended and cull totals for most of the six participating communities have been complied. North Royalton by far leads the pack in harvest numbers.
North Royalton Police Chief Ken Bilinovich shared the totals with the North Royalton City Council during its safety committee meeting Feb. 20. The bow hunting season was Sept. 30 to Feb. 4, and during that time in North Royalton, 193 deer were harvested. Of that number, 187 were through the 91 deer hunting permits issued and six were under the nuisance ordinance.
Bilinovich had the break down per ward: 71 were taken in Ward 1, 41 in Ward 2, 12 in Ward 3, six in Ward 4, 23 in Ward 5 and 40 in Ward 6.
Ward 1 Councilman John Nickell asked for a total of car-deer collisions and if the police knew how many deer feel victim to the fatal Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, spread by the bite of an infected midge.
North Royalton Safety Director Bruce Campbell said the city picked up 495 deer carcasses, up from 349 last year. Animal Control, he said, estimates that out of that total, 100 were attributed to the disease. There were 220 car-deer collisions.
Over in Strongsville, Sgt. Rob Barsa said there were 82 deer culled. There were a total of 59 hunters. Cull numbers were not broken down by ward here. There were also 171 reported car-deer collisions in Strongsville last year.
In addition to Royalton and Strongsville, Broadview Heights reported 64 deer culled, Parma 24, Parma Heights zero and Seven Hills 76.
The 2016-2017 season was the inaugural season for not only North Royalton but also Strongsville, Broadview Heights, Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills, whose residents voted to allow bow hunting back in 2016. During that first season, 187 deer were culled in Royalton and 74 deer culled in Strongsville.
The driving force behind bow hunting, which residents approved last year, has been to decrease the overpopulation of deer which many believe poses a threat to safety.
This season’s bag limit was the same as last season: 10 deer per hunter with three anterless deer required first before an antlered deer.
Barsa said the program is going well but from a safety standpoint, he would have preferred to see a bit higher numbers in Strongsville.
“I would have liked to see a few more to reduce the car versus deer accidents and the personal property damage,” he said.
North Royalton’s Ward 6 Councilman Dan Kasaris, who has been a proponent of reducing the deer population from a safety standpoint, found the number of deer-related motor vehicle accidents startling as well as the total number of deer picked up by animal control.
“It’s quite clear that we have a deer problem in the city …,” he said. “We owe it to our drivers and residents to provide the safest roads we can possibly provide.”
He said, like Solon, it could take a few years to see a reduction. He believes this is the only way until there is another alternative to keeping the population in check.
“Right now, we know we have no choice other than to continue what we’ve been doing to reduce the deer population,” he said. “We’ve reduced the deer population by close to 400 the last two years. Until we have another option available to us to reduce the deer population, the residents of North Royalton voted that we should continue to do what we are doing.”