"Clover trap" system might solve Bloomington deer problem

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An influx of deer in Monroe County is prompting the local council to consider culling and other measures.

"They usually go up past our house," said Bloomington homeowner Mark Erehart.

"I have a neighbor whose dog was killed by a deer," said developer Eric Stolberg. "They eat our flowers. We have a deer population that's exploded."

Stolberg is glad that Bloomington has a task force that is about to come up with plans for dealing with the deer problem.

"People feel they are having an adverse affect on their lives, whether it's gardening or car collisions," says councilman Dave Rollo.

Rollo's task force is leaning toward fines for people who feed deer, more fencing and lethal measures.

"Probably the safest option is some form of sharpshooting at close proximity," said Rollo. "And using a trap system that is called a clover trap."

In a clover trap, the shooter, working at night, lures deer in with food, then administers a quick lethal gunshot to the head to prevent suffering. The shooter would be a wildlife biologist. The shooting areas could be in someone's big backyard.

"This can be done very safely," Rollo said. "We're not concerned about that at all. It's all done at very close proximity."

He says in rural areas, hunters could be used.

Some outdoorspeople feel it's not too sporting.

Mark of Big Mark's Bait Shop blames development. "Oh, so we're gonna build them $300,000 houses, and then 'oh, they're eating our flowers, let's kill the deer,'" he said.

A hunter in Mark's store calls it "just cruel and inhumane."

While many want deer controlled, homeowners we met don't mind them.

"We've got to make room for them and live together, said Mark Erehart. "We need them both. They were here first."

Task force recommendations are due in early summer and could be implemented late this year.

They may need to amend a law that says only Bloomington police can fire a weapon in the city limits.