Dear Solon residents who happen to be reading this:

I urge you to vote NO on Issue 94, the Deer Preservation Act.

For reference, here is the full text of the issue from the Board of Elections:

An ordinance proposed by petition to enact Section 618.129, Deer Preservation, which provides as follows:

No person shall knowingly cull, hunt, kill, injure, or torture a deer anywhere within the City limits of Solon, Ohio;

The Section does not apply to a veterinarian or law enforcement official who, for medical or public safety reasons determines that the killing of an unreasonably dangerous or injured or seriously disabled deer is warranted;

Makes a violation of this section a first-degree misdemeanor and makes repeated violations a fourth degree felony;

Allows any resident of Solon who learns of a violation to file a lawsuit against the violator to prevent future violations and to recover a civil forefeiture of $1000 per violation;

All ordinances, resolutions, proclamations, motions and Charter Provisions inconsistent with this section are hereby repealed.

Shall the proposed ordinance enacting the “Solon, Ohio Deer Preservation Act” be adopted

The main problem with this law is that this would prohibit the city itself from culling the deer population. It is a law that constrains the city and what it can do. The side effect of this is that the city then cannot contract with firms to do the culling nor can the city allow for safe hunting.

I received a flyer on my mailbox today. It makes a smattering of unconnected, unsubstantiated and irrelevant arguments.

I’ll cover these point by point:

“Do you want to have bow and arrow hunting in Solon? / Studies have shown that about half the deer who are hit with an arrow do not die immediately; the often die a slow, agonizing death.” (underlining from original)

First off, to raise deer to the level of humans and use the word “who” is slightly strange, but that underlines the thinking of these folks.

A 2008 study certainly refutes that claim. The recovery rate is above 80%, not the 50% stated in the flyer. The study was done to specifically address the claim of wounding that this flyer is talking about.

“Do you want to continue wasting tax dollars on an ineffective deer killing program in Solon, when we have already spent nearly $800,000? / There are more effective, less-costly, humane, non-lethal alternatives”

How can you call the program ineffective when the number of deer in Solon went down? How can you say there are more effective alternatives when conservationists at the Metroparks disagree? A 2010 study conducted by Fairfield County in Connecticut outlines the problems with the alternatives. Their findings are that it could cost up to twice as much to use injectable contraceptives as the past sharpshooters that Solon has used.

They also point out that ingestible contraceptives are bad because there are no deer-only food sources. The contraceptives are a broad-acting drug that would affect the fertility of many other species as well which is obviously not the intent.

“Do you want to see deer wandering the neighborhood with arrows in their bodies?”

Now that is just gratuitous. This would be an argument for the sharpshooters then, wouldn’t it? The wounding rate is low, as documented above. This is unlikely in any case.

“Do you want arrows and bullets in the neighborhoods of Solon?”

We, as humans, have gotten rid of all of the large predators in the area. We need to do something effective to be proper custodians of our environment. What the predators have done in the past we must now do ourselves.

Do you want to see the continued destruction of the habitat of other creatures in Solon? Do you support the continued starvation of deer in Solon? Do you want to set the stage by creating the ideal conditions to allow the spread chronic wasting disease in the deer in Solon and surrounding areas? (CWD is the deer equivalent to mad cow disease) Do you want to knowingly put drivers in additional risk by having a severe overpopulation of deer in the area?

We have to stop thinking of deer in the Disney-infused fog of cartoons and start to think in terms of wildlife management. They are wild animals after all.

We must allow the City of Solon to set its laws in a way that make sense and not be constrained by these ordinance by petitions. To cloud the issue with only bow hunting is a ruse — it hides the fact that by passing this ordinance it ties the hands of the city government to act in the best way possible at the time.

If our elected officials think that culling is the way to go: Good for them. Hunting? If it’s done in a safe and controlled way: Cool. Non-lethal that works: Fine by me. If you don’t like the way the council is acting, speak to your representatives and have them explain why they voted the way they did. Perhaps they have better information than you.

– = –

While on a walk yesterday through the Metroparks we walked by several deer. One of these deer was so protective of whatever it was eating that it was essentially fearless of humans. We walked within 10 feet of this doe that was eating next to the all-purpose trail, all while she was watching us. As we walked past she continued to munch of the tree sprouts near the path. The food situation is so severe that these deer are going to start starving as winter hits.

In the past two weeks I’ve also had deer eat through my antenna feedline. The deer are so hungry that they are eating plastic — or at least trying to. There is not enough forage to support the population.

Is this what is meant by “preservation?”

– = –

I urge you to vote NO on Solon Issue 94.