Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Thursday, 07 March 2013 09:45
White tail deer have become a common sight around Bowling Green, especially on the west side of the city.
|A sign sitting along South Wintergarden Road warning drivers of deer crossing the road. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Chris Gajewicz, natural resources coordinator for Bowling Green's Department of Parks and Recreation, expects to see the population increase.
"There are probably 30 deer in this part of town. They don't stay in any one spot and they don't all stay together. They're looking for food and when they find it in your backyard, they are happy," Gajewicz said. "This is just the beginning. I think we will see a lot more deer."
Gajewicz said he receives a fair amount of questions and e-mail about deer, many wondering what the "city is going to do about its deer."
He replies the city isn't going to do anything, because deer are not the city's and are managed by the state through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. "We just try to educate people that people have to co-exist with deer."
He urges people not to put out food for the deer, although the deer might decide to munch on hostas or other garden plants.
"All of Bowling Green is deer habitat," Gajewicz said. "The woods, the yards, the golf course. Deer like to live along the edges, the ditches, the tree lines. Deer usually don't spend a lot of time in the woods."
Some people who walk in the Wintergarden/St. John's Woods Nature Preserve have expressed concerns about how close they can get to the deer. Gajewicz wants people to observe wildlife from a safe distance and especially leave fawns alone even if they appear to be "abandoned." He said the doe is often close by feeding.
Gajewicz said he came across a 12-point buck in the preserve early last fall during the rut. "After looking at each other for a minute, I backed away and came back to the office," he said.
The office is located on the south side of the Rotary Nature Center.
He said the white-tailed deer was reintroduced to Ohio in the 1920s. Information on the ODNR website indicates the first deer hunt in 1943 in three counties resulted in 168 deer being taken. With all 88 counties participating in 1956 the harvest was 3,911 deer. In the recently-completed season there were 218,910 deer taken statewide with 863 taken in Wood County. A year ago the Wood County total was 705. Coshocton County led the state at 7,413.
There are about 25,000 deer-vehicle collisions in the state each year.
Gajewicz said concerns about deer should be directed to the Findlay office of the Ohio Division of Wildlife at (419) 424-5000.
"I am the clearing house for the baby animal calls," Gajewicz said. "The best thing to do is leave them alone."
The city's animal control officer, Tom Sieving, can be reached at (419) 352-1131.