UPDATE: Bloomington locals can hunt deer under new ordinance

UPDATE:

New ordinance passed 8-1 at midnight Wednesday. It will allow local hunters to cull deer on specified dates (to be determined) in November and December in Griffy Lake Preserve.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.- Indiana hunters could soon be one step closer to hunting deer in a Bloomington nature preserve.

With deer populations getting out of hand, Bloomington leaders are trying to decide whether to allow local hunters to thin the deer population at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve or hire a private company, which they’ve done in the past.

“We know that they are impacting the plants and we’re concerned about the other life forms out there,” said Steve Cotter, natural resource manager for the City of Bloomington.

That’s why the city is considering a new way to cull the herd, through an ordinance that lets locals have a shot.

“There are hunters who would like to hunt more deer and so why shouldn’t we let them?” asked Margaret Clements, a Monroe County resident who supports the idea, which was under consideration at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Previously, the city has hired private sharpshooters at a cost of more than $43,000 just last year. It takes a lot less to use local hunters.

“The cost will be about one-third of what a sharpshooter costs,” said Cotter.

Beyond that, the city could actually make money from the state by going local. In fact, $32,500 between this year and next.

“DNR provides communities with funding to allow hunts on public lands that previously have not been hunted,” said Cotter.

If locals end up being allowed to hunt, they’ll be able to keep some of what they shoot. The rest being donated to local charities as it’s been in the past.

“Last year, all the deer were processed with the help of an organization called Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and all the venison went to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank,” said Cotter.

And while the idea of killing animals isn’t appealing to everyone, experts say it needs to be done for the benefit of Griffy Lake and the ecosystem it supports.

“There’s a lot of passionate people in Bloomington on both sides of the issue,” said Cotter. “But, I think everybody wants what is best for the Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.”

The council is expected to take up the issue Wednesday night and we’ll let you know as soon as we get word on how that vote goes.