Bloomington council deals with deer problem

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The Bloomington City Council gave an initial okay to a controversial plan that could include hunting deer in the city to reduce their population.

A deer task force has spent two years working on the plan. It was sparked by environmental damage at parks and backyards because of too much deer grazing and car accidents involving deer, especially in the city's growing southeast quadrant.

At a hearing Wednesday night, parts of the plan that include the use of hunting sharpshooters, even trapping in pens and close range killing of the animals got public comment.

Some neighbors objected. They are concerned that even sharpshooters could miss their target. But supporters for a hunt say lethal means would only be used in neighborhoods in close range situations.

Actual hunting would happen in areas with lots of space - five acres or larger.

The recommendations include non-lethal techniques, like allowing citizens to build higher, slanted fences to keep the deer from getting into their yards easily. It would also fine people for feeding deer and encourage people to plant plants in their yards the deer don't like or that actually keep deer away.

The council committee voted Wednesday to take up the recommendations in front of the full council next Wednesday. They are strictly advisory and the council would not be obligated to carry out any of the recommendations.