Attack of the Deer!

Deer are taking over Ashland, Oregon. To fight this problem Mayor John Stromberg called a town meeting, or what is being referred to as Deer Summit, to resolve the issue of the problematic deer. The meeting brings together Ashland residents to resolve, according to Mayor Stromberg, the difficulties caused by the local deer, people being hurt by the deer, and to bring the human and deer population into equilibrium with each other.

For two hours at intervals of three minutes, residents spoke about their experiences with the local deer population and possible solutions to resolve the problematic deer population in Ashland. Residents spoke of positive and negative encounters with the deer. Some citizens say the deer keep to themselves and stay out of the way, while other residents shared experiences of being attacked by deer. Judy Blickenstaff pronounces “I speak to them gently, tell them what nice things they are and they still chase me” when she describes her four different run-ins with the deer. Other residents have positive experiences with the native deer and want to safeguard the deer. Opinions for protecting the deer ranged from “leave them alone” to “how would we like it if aliens came in and trampled over us?” Some residents say the deer are not a threat and need to be protected from “man.”

Deer Summit on the local news

Residents also gave several different solutions from bow hunters to birth control. One idea that was typical throughout the meeting was an idea presented by Don Stone. Don’s solution was to “bring in skilled bow hunters and they have a harvest…obligated to dress out the carcasses, to take the meat and use it or to contribute it to the foodbanks.” Still others wanted to use salt licks laced with birth control to bring the deer population under control. Many residents considered the deer as “hooved pests” that need to be eliminated.

The feeling of the participants in the meeting was either protect the deer or kill them. There were not many solutions that met somewhere between killing the deer and protecting them. Many residents acknowledged there is a problem, but have no clear idea of how to solve it. Ashland typically has a healthy deer population, but until recently the deer have been causing a nuisance to residents. Hopefully, Mayor Stromberg can take the information and from Deer Summit and put together a solution that benefits the deer and the citizens of Ashland.

Watch the full Deer Summit video here