The City of Solon is on track to cull deer this year remaining in maintenance mode with the herd.
The City Council Safety and Public Properties Committee last week approved entering into a Cooperative Service Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Wildlife Services. The cost of the agreement, which will run from Oct. 1 to July 31, 2021, will be in the amount of $54,121.
Last year, the city entered into a similar program for $53,300 when Solon was given permission to cull 60 deer. This year the permit will be for up to 75, Service Director Mark Hawley said.
City Council will consider the matter on Monday.
Anita L. Matic, assistant service director, said that the city is continuing to see that the management of the deer population has resulted in fewer car accidents involving deer, lowering the cost of property damage and incidents of injury for the motoring public of Solon.
The last counts were performed on the ground and with a helicopter in late 2019 and earlier this year. The count was at 290 on the ground and 328 with the helicopter. The city has averaged about 245 deer over the past few years.
The city continues to be in the maintenance phase of the deer management program, Ms. Matic said. That is compared to the 600 deer that were taken when the city began its first phase of culling in 2005.
There are roughly 25 accidents annually involving deer. That is compared to well over 150 when culling first began.
The deer are being culled by sharpshooters located at about 25 public and private sites in the city. This year, Hawthorn Valley Golf Course will not be among them as in past years.
Meat from the deer each year is transported to a processing facility that has a separate deer processing component, and that meat is ultimately donated to an area food bank.
The first phase of culling began in the city in 2005 and went through 2009. The city halted the program for 2010 and 2011 due to budgetary concerns, but then renewed culling in 2012. That was done after reviewing information such as the rising number of car accidents.
In November of 2011, there was an initiative issue on the ballot generated by residents in opposition to deer culling. About 62 percent of the electorate voted in favor of going forward with a deer culling program.