Eagle Creek overrun by deer

Deer have overrun Eagle Creek (WTHR photo)
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Legal hunting has never happened at the city's largest park, but that could change because the state has its sights on population control after a study from Purdue showed that unless something is done to control the population, the problem is only going to get worse.

Gene Watt of Indianapolis said he would hate to see the deer killed in a controlled hunt because they are so tame and will walk right up to humans.

"It's going to be for the deer hunters, it's going to be easy picks," Watts said.

A hunt is just one of the options the city is considering to deal with the increasing number of deer in Eagle Creek. They're also considering sterilizing some.

"We feel very confident in saying there's about 10 times the number of deer in the park than there should be," said Scott Manning with the Department of Public Works. "From the city's standpoint, we're just trying to find the best option to move forward."

There has never been any kind of effort to control the deer at Eagle Creek. The city says it's trying to mirror what the Department of Natural Resources already does in State Parks.

"An unchecked deer population, it doesn't just present problems for the other wildlife, for plants in the park. It presents problems for the deer themselves," added Manning.

"If the hunting can kill them quickly, that's probably the way to go, to [alleviate] suffering," said Evan Williams of Zionsville.

Still, for some, it's an uncomfortable prospect to consider - killing animals that have come to trust their interactions with the people walking among them.

"I also love the animals, so to see the deer be slaughtered like that would be very rough to see," Watt said.

As of Monday evening, there was not definitive plan or timetable. The city is still talking with ecologists and DNR to figure out a plan to present for the parks board.

The Indiana Animal Rights Alliance called on the city to do a true count of the deer to really determine if Eagle Creek has too many.