Deer culling starts in northeast Ohio, Mentor using sharpshooters

Posted at 10:02 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 22:02:41-05

Jim Owens has seen a lot of deer over the past 38 years in Mentor.

"A mother deer and a baby come up to the fence and let me pet them on the head," he said. Owens even does some deer control himself, using only his hands.

"If I seem them going towards the road, I head them off. They go where I tell them," Owens told News 5. 

The City of Mentor is doing a different kind of deer control, right in Owens' backyard. Police sharpshooters deer cull there, and Owens said he understands why. 

"They gotta do what they gotta do. They're trying to save human lives, because of crashes," he said. 

But not everyone in the neighborhood agrees. Jennifer Artim told News 5 she wishes it hadn't come to this.

"It's a little close to houses!"

However, city manager, Kenneth Filipiak, said the deer population has to be controlled. Too many deer mean problems, like damage to homes, yards, and car accidents.

"This community had the distinction of having the highest number of deer-related traffic accidents in northeastern Ohio," Filipiak said. 

Mentor implemented the culling program 4 years ago and they are now testing technology that keeps deer out of the roads. They had 98 deer-related accidents in 2013 and just 42 last year. 

"Our community has been held up as a model by the Department of Natural Resources as a model for others, the city manager said. 

He added - it's all about balance.

"Between living with the deer population that's healthy and in a safe manner."