Fear the Deer? 2015 Ashland Deer Summit

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“We’ve had more reports of people having serious interactions with deer, whether they are physically struck or hurt.” This is how Mayor John Stromberg began the 2015 Deer summit. The summit was held on September 23 allowing the citizens of Ashland to share their experiences and discuss the issue of the dangerous domestic deer herd.

Stromberg informed the audience of how the summit was intended to play out, anyone who was interested had the opportunity to speak for three minutes regarding their suggestions.

Allan Sandler, local film producer spoke first, suggesting that this was merely an issue of “educational purposes” and that he could help control the problem by making an informative short film about the deer population. Referring to the film he ended by saying “If it doesn’t work shortly afterwords we can take courses that are more extreme.”

Juliette Doty shared an experience she had walking her dog where she was attacked not once but twice in the same night by deer and has not been able to take her dog out since. The first attack the deer herded her up against a car, the driver finally had to tell her to get in and dropped her and the dog off up the hill where she was attacked a second time.

“We’ve never had any trouble ever, the deer are the ones who have the trouble.” This was Mary Pichako’s response to deer. Pichako and her family have lived in Ashland for five years and is not alone in her feelings about the people being the problem rather than the deer.

The summit produced other popular concerns including lyme disease, the tourist industry being affected, possible lawsuits, deer replacing the removed deer, and cougars.

Solutions such as “harvesting” the deer, relocating them, sterilizing them, contraception for the deer, pepper spray, building a deer fence and taking more caution when controlling predators such as cougars were all presented at the summit.

Wrapping up the summit Stromberg mentions “What are the things that we are doing to condition the deer to feel to secure?”

The full summit can be watched here.