Ashland Hosts Deer Summit For Concerned Residents

Ashland city government is trying to find ways help residents feel safe while respecting wildlife around their town. The 2015 Deer Summit in Ashland took place on Wednesday September 23 to address the possible aggressive deer in the city. Towns’ people who have problems with the deer along with the wildlife committee were present.

The mayor, John Stromberg, told the people that he has had run-ins with the deer before so he understands what the people are going through. “I’ve had a deer stalk me several years ago,” said Mayor Stromberg. He also said that he knows of a dog that was injured by a fawn, not a buck, so badly that it had to be put down.

The wildlife committee said that because the forest is so close in proximity of the city, the deer have not formed a fear of people. “Ashland has its own deer herd. Generation after generation (of deer) has been born in this town and grown up in an artificial non wild environment,” said Mayor Stromberg.

Don Stong suggested that the city of Ashland hires skilled bow hunters to help eliminate the deer and donate it to the food bank. “We’re not dealing with Bambi, we’re dealing with long legged pests that are destroying gardens, attacking people, and are involved in automobile accidents,” said Don.

Another resident believes that deer are a danger. Gary Fall, an 18-year resident, said the deer have no fear. “I’ve seen deer stand in the middle of the street and stare down a car. I’ve seen them standing in the middle of the sidewalk causing people to change paths to avoid them”, said Fall. He also brought up the point that deer are carriers of diseases such as lime disease. Fall agreed with Don regarding the solution of hiring bowmen to help with the problem.

Francine Adams, a 10-year resident, has concerns about the safety of her and her dog claiming she’s noticed a marked rise in aggression of the deer. “My dog and I have been attacked five times by deer charging us from behind,” said Adams, “the first encounter injuring my dog.” She claims her solution has been the construction of an expensive deer fence and rerouting her dog walks. “I think it (deer) will be a financial problem to Ashland because I think it is going to affect the tourist industry.”

There are mixed feelings among the townspeople present at this meeting about whether or not the deer are a danger and many are opposed to the proposition of killing the deer as a solution.

Mary Gabriel, a 15-year resident, said that when she heard that Ashland was considering killing the deer she was astounded. “The primary reason Ashland is so special is because of its natural beauty. We are nestled in a bowl of mountains. What comes with living in the mountains? Wildlife,” said Gabriel. She believes that killing the deer is not the answer and that they act aggressively when they feel threatened.

Midge Raymond, a 5-year resident, is also opposed to killing the deer. What brought her to this down was its natural beauty. “We live on the edge of a national forest and the deer have been here longer than we have,” said Raymond. She acknowledged the people who brought up lawsuits and said that the city of Ashland would have to consider the possibility of lawsuits arising if people were shot by arrows.

Many community members have different views about the solution to this deer problem and many believe that there is no problem.

Tonight was just the first step in the process to find out the best option for the city so that the scary, unpleasant stories of community members will be stories of Ashland’s past.