Tuesday, September 26, 2017 Elyria 89°


Avon Lake deer survey results pinpoint overpopulation areas


AVON LAKE — Results of a survey about deer have been released.

The survey, available to all city residents, was completed by approximately 950 people. There were 50 people who did not provide addresses, so those surveys weren’t counted.

The results were examined by the Avon Lake City Council, Mayor Greg Zilka, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Avon Lake Police Department as a way to pinpoint problems with the reported deer overpopulation.

Councilman Dave Kos said the survey was helpful because it narrowed down areas where deer are spotted the most.

According to survey results, Kos said, deer were seen the most near the Kopf Reservation and the southeast portion of the city, east of Jaycox Road.

“The question, I guess, is not what are we going to do, but what can we do? The majority of complaints are off limits to culling,” he said.

Council has discussed culling a portion of the deer population, but certain areas, like the Kopf Reservation, prohibit hunting.

The survey shows that most problems are related to deer damaging plants, and most residents have reported very little financial loss because of those issues.

According to the survey, 35 percent of people have seen deer daily on their property within the last month. About 23 percent of those surveyed have seen deer once a week, and 23 percent have seen the animals several times a day.

Aggressive behavior from deer toward humans or pets was rare, but almost half of those surveyed encountered deer on the roadway once a week.

A major problem, which was noted by Zilka during a Council meeting Monday, is that residents still are feeding the deer.

Most of those surveyed supported the city’s ordinance that prohibits feeding deer. That ordinance was passed early this year, Kos said. But 38 percent of those surveyed reported that they were aware of residents feeding deer.

Given the deer problem in the city, Kos said, residents should not feed the deer.

“It is very important not to feed the deer,” he said. “It may help them in the short term, but it does not help them long-term.”

He said that residents should report to the city anyone who is seen feeding deer. One person has been charged with doing so — a misdemeanor offense — and that man was ordered to pay a fine since the city’s ordinance against feeding wildlife went into effect early this year.

Residents had the opportunity to comment on their concerns as part of the survey. Comments ranged from supporting the wildlife in the community to finding a way to kill the majority of the deer.

Zilka read some of the comments during the Council meeting Monday.

“Deer are a part of what makes our city attractive,” one person wrote.

“Work with Avon as deer have moved in the city due to the clearing of land,” another person suggested.

Zilka said he received a call from Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza, who told Zilka that an Avon resident would use a cannon to scare deer away from his property south of Krebs Road. The resident told Piazza the deer were coming from Avon Lake.

Other concerns raised by residents were of potential diseases, like Lyme disease, that may be carried by the deer and car accidents that have been caused by deer running into the roads.

The city is working to install high-tech signs in areas where there have been accidents involving cars hitting deer. The signs will be provided by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Ohio Department of Transportation as part of a pilot study.

The problem with deer in the city has been discussed over the last two years.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.

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