Chesterton Tribune



County Park Board hears deer hunting request

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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.

McFadden said 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.

The management program has specific safety regulations for responsible sportsmanship and McFadden said hunters would use only bow hunting to harvest the deer in the parks.

An overpopulation 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.

“Obviously, there 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 research.

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.


Posted 10/3/2014




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