The Porter County
Board of Parks and Recreation gave resident Bryan McFadden and Parks
Superintendent Walter Lenckos authorization for research on an urban deer
hunt program to control deer populations in county parks.
The program will be
eligible for grant funding from the Department of Natural Resources for
marketing and education.
Porter County, along with neighboring counties Lake and LaPorte, has one of
the highest number of deer in the state and is classified by the DNR as an
Urban Deer Zone.
program has specific safety regulations for responsible sportsmanship and
McFadden said hunters would use only bow hunting to harvest the deer in the
of deer is a threat because of the high risk of deer-vehicle collisions and
other factors such as disease, McFadden said.
McFadden said the
urban deer program he seeks to start will donate meat from deer harvested to
food pantries around the state.
He said one deer
equals roughly 200 meals. As the plan goes, the venison would be processed
locally and then given to local shelters, he said.
The program can
offer educational opportunities for beginning hunters and McFadden said
there are individuals involved with Purdue University who’d be willing to
teach how to cook venison at no cost.
is a lot of good here,” said McFadden, who said more information is
available on his website,
Park board member
Craig Kenworthy said he is in favor of the idea but warned McFadden that
there will be concerns from some of the neighbors over safety.
“There is a deer
issue in Porter County. The PR is going to be pretty difficult to go through
with the parks being a protected area,” Kenworthy said.
Lenckos said he
knows there will probably be resistance from a few community members but
said the parks stand to benefit as deer have caused major damage to the
gardens at Brincka-Cross Park and some areas at Sunset Hill Farm.
“It sounds like
this could be a win-win for everybody involved,” Lenckos said.
McFadden said trail
cameras can be used to track deer.
Kenworthy said it
would be neat to see what other “critters” inhabit the park using the
cameras and Lenckos added it could generate interest from universities to do
The board said
Lenckos may coordinate with McFadden on determining what sort of demand
there might be from the public for an urban deer hunt program and estimate
how many deer live on park property.
Board members told
McFadden he could present the information to them early next year when the
grant application process will be open.