HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After receiving a number of complaints from Huntington residents about the overpopulation of deer, a city council committee is discussing the possibility of enacting an urban deer hunt.
During a Pubic Safety Committee meeting Wednesday, the urban deer hunt was brought to the table.
Huntington Councilman David Ball says a Huntington garden club contacted him about deer damaging gardens in the area of McCoy Road.
During the meeting, Kim Shaw, a biologist with the W.Va. DNR spoke about several options the city has when it comes to an urban hunt.
Before the city does anything, Shaw says they must submit a written request with the DNR by March 1 of next year to be eligible to hold an urban deer hunt in 2014. They have already missed the 2013 deadline, so a hunt could not take place this year.
Shaw told committee members that if the city decides to do a hunt, it would be allowed from September 1 through the end of the year.
Residents are allowed to kill up to seven deer, and that does not count against their hunting license. The first deer must be a doe, and you can only kill two bucks. No guns are permitted in urban deer hunts, only archery. And all state rules and regulations apply.
Councilman Ball asked Shaw if such a hunt in such a small area would actually help manage the deer population.
"It has worked across the state. We've had this in effect. Our first three we had were Wheeling, Wierton, and Beckley, in the northern panhandle and over the years, we've expanded that whenever there was a demand for the urban hunt. And it's a tool that really does work," said Shaw.
Councilman Ball says that about 70% of residents in that area that he has talked to, oppose such a hunt.
Ball also says that officials at the Huntington Museum of Art, which is located in the area in question, are also not in favor of the hunt. He also says that city park officials do not approve hunting around park areas. He says city park officials are also against the idea.
"I'm not so sure it would be a good fit in Huntington," Ball said.
Shaw also told committee members that residents must get permission from landowners to hunt on their property.
Shaw says Charleston, South Charleston and Barboursville previously held urban deer hunts, and they were all managed differently.
For example, residents in Barboursville who choose to take part in the hunt must get their permit through the police department, and check-in deer through the police department. Charleston residents do not go through the police department.
Ball says before this would go into place, it would really have to be scrutinized. He says as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, his primary job is safety.
"Considering the safety factors involved here, I'm still very, very reluctant to see an urban deer hunt in our particular area," Ball said. "We do indeed have a deer overpopulation, as we do all over the state of West Virginia, but I'm just not convinced that an urban deer hunt is the answer.,".
When asked what would change Ball's mind, he said he would have to hear from more residents that would support the hunt, considering right now, only about 30% of those he talked to are in favor of it.