Is it time to start urban deer hunting?

November 11, 2010 4:56:08 AM PST
Officials say Wake County is the worst place in the state for deer related motor vehicle accidents.The animals have moved into just about every field and thicket in Wake County. They are so numerous and brazen that they often come out into open areas in broad daylight.

"Our population estimates are about 1.1 million deer throughout the state," NC Wildlife Biologist Joe Folta said. "And there are several areas where we do see a lot of road kills."

Guilford County is ranked second in the state with just over 600 car-deer crashes in 2009. Wake County almost doubled that total - just shy of 1,200 deer crashes.

Officials say Wake County is the leader in deer collisions because of a combination of high deer and human populations.

On Wednesday, one deer caused a four car pileup on I-40 during the pre-dawn morning rush and a crash last week near Creedmoor took the life of a 3-year-old when the family car landed upside down in a creek.

It's so bad that the State Wildlife Commission says it's time to do something.

"We do recommend that deer are thinned out," Folta said.

The Mayor of Raleigh says he knows there's only one way to do that.

"It's hard to really remove the deer alive somewhere," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "On the other hand, they don't fit very well with roads if there are too many of them - particularly this time of year."

Wildlife biologists say there is really only one way.

"It's a matter of trying to get the urban archery seasons in those local municipalities," Folta said.

Bow hunting deer often draws protests from animal rights activists as inhumane, but according to Raleigh's mayor, sometimes they have to weigh the value of humans versus animals.

"The council deals with issues that have two sides to them," Meeker said. "And really we need to think carefully about this. You know, we don't want any one animal to really become a threat to people. And once you start having these accidents it really gives you second thoughts."

Meeker says although no one has brought the issue before the City Council it may be time for the council to take a look on its own.

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