Judge approves Eagle Creek deer hunt

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 26, 2014) - Eagle Creek Park will be the site of Indy's first ever controlled park deer hunt after a Marion County judge denied a request Wednesday to have the hunt killed.

Larry Peavler filed the lawsuit with his attorney, Arend Able, after the city agreed to have the cull. Additionally, Able filed a preliminary injunction to have the Thanksgiving weekend hunt canceled. It was that injunction that the judge denied.

Peavler argued Wednesday’s ruling set the precedent for hundreds of hunts at the park in the years to come.

"The end goal is to have the department of parks and the city comply with the law,” said Able.

Peavler claimed the Department of Parks and Rec rushed the process of approving the hunt and that they did not allowing for the proper studies to determine an exact deer population.

"Well naturally, I'm very disappointed. It'll no longer be a park; it'll just be a killing ground,” said Peavler.

Peavler is an avid bird watcher at Eagle Creek. He testified that he'd hate to see a dramatic decrease in the deer population there.  He mentioned financial losses as well; he gives paid guided tours of the park and a loss of deer he said, would lead to a loss of his patrons.

“Adopt a rational process to do it, rather than rushing through and asking to kill a number of deer they don’t even know are there,” said Able.

The City worked with the Department of Natural Resources to determine plant life in the park was dramatically dwindling. The result, they said, was due to an excess of deer.

“We’ve seen the detrimental impact of the deer so we understand that a cull is necessary,” said Lesley Gordon, Indy Parks Spokesperson.

City officials said other methods of population control were considered. Sterilization and contraception were both looked at. Neither officials said were as effective as a cull, or a bait and feed trap, where deer are picked off by hunters.

“We allowed public comment because we realize it was a sensitive issue and we wanted to make sure we got all sides and the public understood what we were doing and why,” said Gordon.

The cull will be staffed by 23 professional hunters, 12 of whom will be disabled combat veterans from the Wounded Warriors organization. This event is not open to the public.

The event will run Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. As a result, the entire east side of the park will be closed to the public during that time.

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