YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The program to reduce the deer population among Mill Creek MetroParks has two components: one is a controlled hunt among the regional, rural properties and the other is a targeted removal, which got approval on Wednesday.

The targeted removal is working with the USDA to bring in sharpshooters. They will work only between Route 224 and Midlothian Boulevard.

“This program is designed to take place in areas where traditional hunting is not possible,” said Natural Resources manager Nick Derico.

The team that comes will be working from elevated positions, such as tree stands or platforms, to make for safer shooting angles. All of this part of the program will be done at night while the park is closed.

The park has been sharing numbers on overpopulation throughout Mill Creek MetroParks’ properties. The Division of Wildlife has approved a small number to begin this portion of the population control.

“So 30 deer was a comfortable spot to begin. We believe that number is conservative,” Derico said.

The park can request more tags after those first 30 are filled. It’s a starting point to show this portion of the hunt can be done safely.

The permit for the sharpshooters runs from October 1 through the end of March.

“They have a wealth of experience in this. This team in particular works all over northern Ohio with many other programs and they have a flawless safety record,” Derico said.

Four residents living near the park have filed a lawsuit in Mahoning County to stop what they’re calling the park’s “Deer Slaughter Plan.”

A preliminary injunction hearing in that case is scheduled for next week.