Deer hunt proposed for Bloomington nature preserve

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An overabundance of deer in a Bloomington nature preserve has a city councilman proposing that sharpshooters be called in to thin the herd.

City Councilman Dave Rollo said the large number of deer at 1,200-acre Griffy Lake preserve on the city’s north side has resulted in much of its vegetation being stripped away.

“We need to remove a lot of deer and do it as quickly as we can, as soon as we can, and as humanely as possible,” Rollo told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/1gGZpJW ).

Rollo said he’s working with another councilman on a proposed ordinance that would have sharpshooters hired to hunt in the preserve during winter months.

Similar concerns about large deer populations led to hunters being allowed in state parks over the past 20 years.

A city task force has been looking at ways to reduce the number of deer around Bloomington, which is in the midst of a heavily wooded area. Opponents have fought its proposal to allow hunting of the animals around the city, calling it inhumane and possibly dangerous to people and pets.

A study by Indiana University’s Research and Teaching Preserve of an open plot at Griffy Lake contained 28 individual woody plants and seven plant species. A fenced plot contained 204 woody plants and 21 plant species.

Outside the deer-proof enclosures, young trees don’t survive, Rollo said.

“It was rich in biodiversity,” he said of the preserve. “But it’s imperiled.”

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