Morgantown survey shows success of urban hunts

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — This survey did more than confirm suspicions, it hit the

Since City Council first approved Morgantown’s urban bow hunt about five years ago, the city’s deer population has been reduced by more than 60 percent.

Whether it was the camouflage or the nature of the hunters’ prey, these results certainly sneaked upon us, not to mention the fact that these hunts were even occurring.

Even the coordinator of Morgantown’s urban hunt said he didn’t know what to expect from January’s infrared aerial survey of the deer population.

Though some probably still oppose these urban bow hunts, there has been little to no criticism about them or their overall results.

Not only have there been no urban myths coming true of deer running around with arrows in them, there have been zero complaints.

This is not only a testament to Morgantown’s approach to this program, but more so to how the hunters have conducted themselves. Whether you oppose this urban deer hunt, support it or even knew it existed, it has lived up to its mandate from the city.

As one member of the city’s Urban Deer Management Committee put it, “It’s really worked out for everybody.”

Not only have homeowners seen far fewer white-tails grazing in their yards, but most no longer see any damage to their plants or trees.

We suspect that this significant decline in the number of deer in the city’s environs has also reduced the number of their collisions with vehicles.

There’s also that two and half tons of ground venison that’s been donated to local food pantries, too, as a result of these urban hunts.

Last summer, we noted here it was unclear whether these hunts were marginalizing the city’s urban deer herds and the problems associated with them.

Since there was no actual data whether the deer population had declined, multiplied or remained the same we welcomed another aerial density count then.

After all, that initial flyover in 2011 certainly confirmed our worst suspicions.

Now, this latest one has equally confirmed the dramatic impact of urban deer hunts.

Recently, Kingwood’s City Council began discussions on hosting an urban deer hunt.

Based on the results of this latest aerial survey, the discretion of the hunters and the absence of complaints, we recommend Kingwood enact a deer hunting law.

Morgantown’s urban bow deer hunt all along achieved its underlying goal: Staying out of sight and out of mind.

But perhaps more importantly, the city’s deer population now appears to also be practically out of sight and out of mind.

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