YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Last week, the Board of Park Commissioners for Mill Creek MetroParks met to discuss the area’s growing white-tailed deer population, but not everyone is happy with the proposed courses of action.
At the meeting, the park’s natural resource manager laid out problems the area is facing because the deer population is surpassing a sustainable number.
Workers with Mill Creek MetroParks say the park averages 387 deer per square mile. The park is considering the best way to reduce the deer population — and harvesting them may be a possibility.
On Sunday, 11 locals got their hiking shoes on to count the deer themselves. They are skeptical about the 387 number of deer the park says are there.
“We pay taxes, we pay an extra tax for the park, and I don’t think we should be harvesting our friends,” says Mickey Drabison.
Many in the area say they’ve spent years admiring the park and its deer — they say the deer should be left alone, as they’re what makes the place so beautiful.
“We have to preserve these areas, you have to leave nature alone,” says Don Mraovich of Youngstown. “Every time we get involved, every time we intercede in anything, it causes more trouble.”
Hikers walked for almost three miles over a two-hour span and saw not a single deer. They say they believe the park will benefit financially from harvesting the deer — something they’re strongly against.
“These deer are our deer, they are your deer — why should they be out here?” says Drabison. “We’re not a farm here, raising deer for meat.”
There have been no final decisions made regarding the overpopulation of deer in the park, and input from the public is welcomed.
For more information and a feedback survey on the issue, visit Mill Creek’s website.