CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — The Mill Creek MetroParks board of commissioners voted to approve a deer culling program Monday evening.
The environment was quite different from the less-than-a-dozen people who were at the initial presentation of the deer population. With every board meeting, the crowd has grown larger and angrier at the idea of hunters and sharpshooter in the park.
On Monday, the board room at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm was packed for the vote, and there was barely an empty seat in the house.
All board members in attendance voted yes to the deer culling program, but the crowd booed as the votes came in.
Lee Frey, park board president, addressed the crowd: “You’re going to have to be quiet. How hard is it to be mature about the whole thing?”
The board of park commissioners meeting came to several stops as commissioners prepared to vote.
Frey: “Roll call, please.”
Crowd: “We listened to you. Why can’t you just listen to us before you vote?”
Frey: “No, thank you.”
That vote passed. Afterward, the public spoke.
“I really am concerned about the safety of myself, my family and my friends and neighbors here,” an area resident said at the podium.
Those who were opposed to culling were met with cheers from the crowd.
Many wore matching green t-shirts that read, “Save the Mill Creek Park deer.”
“I’ve never seen 300-something deer. So where are they?” said another resident.
Those who agreed with the board spoke in favor of culling were also greeting with jeering.
Richard Ostheiner (supports culling): “Excuse me, I have the floor.”
The biggest hang up for most of the crowd: They don’t believe the park’s deer population is as high as the park’s survey says it is. Some even proposed the need for a second population survey.
Catherine Bosley (opposes culling): “We’re just asking you to employ a company that is no way connected to this town, has no political connections –to do a proper survey that we know is indeed not at all corrupted.”
The culling program is slated to start this fall. Judging from the reaction from the night’s crowd, it’s unlikely the last words have been heard from those who oppose the culling. Those opposed have hired an attorney who is looking into the integrity of the deer population survey.