Oh Deer!

On September 23, 2015, the city of Ashland held a Deer Summit meeting. John Stromberg, the mayor of Ashland, held the meeting to let local residents speak their minds about the current deer situation.

The local deer have become so domesticated that they will walk right up to people, sometimes charging at them or in some instances, attacking. One resident said that the deer have no fear when it comes to humans.

Local residents were given three minutes to speak their name, address, and how they felt about recent events involving the deer. Some residents shared stories where they felt the deer were friendly, and some residents shared their not so friendly encounters with the deer.

Juliet Dody, a two year resident of Ashland, said that she was attacked twice while walking her dog one evening. Mrs. Dody said that she stopped walking her dog after the attacks, which had happened over three months ago.

Don Stone suggested bringing in professional bow hunters to take care of the deer. “We’re no longer dealing here with Bambi, we’re no longer dealing here with Fauline, we’re dealing with four legged pests.” He also suggested that the deer meat be donated to local food banks and said that at least 40–50 deer would have to be killed in order to make a dent in the domesticated deer population. Mr. Stone said that he had been in contact with the Oregon Bow Hunter Association about the problem that the city was dealing with.

Although there were many residents in favor of culling the deer population, there were also many locals against the idea. Mary Gabriel was one of those residents. “Killing them is not the answer. In fact, it is shameful to even consider.”

Another resident against culling in Ashland, Sally Rose Sandler, mentioned that many local residents love the deer. She said that a herd of deer live near her home, and have never once attacked her. “Tourists love the deer, and they cross Siskiyou (a Main Street in Ashland), they wait for traffic to stop. They are smart enough to wait for traffic.”

One resident brought up the possibility of the city being sued in the event of a deer attacking a child or tourist. Another valid argument, made by the same resident, Gary Fall, was the possibility of disease being brought into the town be deer. One disease that deer carry is Lyme disease. Fall was one of two residents that was concerned with diseases.

The deer population has been so high in the city that they are now attracting cougars. There have been cougar sightings on a daily basis. One speaker mentioned that in a town that he had previously lived in, children were being stalked by Cougars while waiting for the school bus.

Sadly this is not the first time that the city of Ashland has met under these circumstances. The mayor mentioned that they had held a similar meeting almost exactly five years before, and a handful of the same residents were in attendance.

Many ideas were thrown around at the summit, but a solution was not found. Overall the main goal, was to reach a decision as a community. The city of Ashland and the local residents seemed to define community with their willingness to work together.