Ohio Town Considers Urban Hunt to Get Whitetail Deer Population Under Control

by Lauren Boisvert

The town of Medina, Ohio is home to a population of 600 whitetail deer in relation to its 26,000 human residents. According to city officials, there are roughly about 60 deer per square mile in Medina. The town has an area of 12 square miles. That’s a lot of deer.

At a Glance

  • Medina, Ohio has an abundance of whitetail deer within city limits; they are destroying neighborhoods and leading to an uptick in traffic accidents
  • The City Council finance committee voted to add an amendment to local hunting ordinances that would lift restrictions on urban deer hunting in the city
  • The amendment needs to be voted on again in September, but City Council president John Coyne feels positive about the outcome

Small Ohio City Votes on Amendment to Hunting Regulations Regarding Urban Deer

John Coyne, Medina City Council president, says that the deer population has been an issue since 2012. Additionally, the growing whitetail population has led to many more traffic accidents in Medina. The deer are also causing problems in the local neighborhoods. Residents want to preserve their yards and gardens from the foraging whitetail. The solution? The city is considering having local hunters cull the population during deer season.

On August 22, the Medina City Council’s finance committee voted 6 to 1 to lift restrictions on hunting deer within city limits. During Ohio’s fall deer season, hunters will now be able to pursue deer in the city using archery equipment. The amendment needs to be fully approved in an upcoming September meeting. But, Coyne feels positive that the urban hunt is a step in the right direction for controlling Medina’s rampant deer population.

“These are baby steps to start out,” Coyne told Field and Stream. “We want to see what works and see if we can maintain some kind of management system.”

This isn’t a free-for-all urban hunt, though. There are some regulations put down by the city. For instance, hunters must be at least 21 to participate. They must also have a valid hunting license issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Additionally, they need five years of deer hunting experience or five deer harvests on record. Each hunt within city limits would also be approved case-by-case by the Medina Police Department.

Some Residents Stand in Opposition to the Culling

Residents and protestors have publicly opposed the in-town archery hunt. During the finance committee meeting, protestors gathered wielding signs saying “Say No to the Neighborhood Bow” and featuring the logo of the local organization Save Medina’s Deer. So, there are some residents who don’t mind the large deer population. Or they don’t want hunters roaming the streets with compound bows. Or a combination of both.

These residents want to solve the problem by stopping the deer from giving birth. They propose birth control in the form of an immunocontraceptive. This type of birth control uses an animal’s immune system to prevent it from becoming pregnant. Administered through a vaccine, it triggers an animal’s natural immune response to make it temporarily infertile.

Council-member-at-large Bill Lamb supports this plan, casting the singular vote against the urban hunt. “The urban hunt is not reasonable,” he stated during the meeting. “It’s not a nuanced plan. The way this is put together is simply a reaction…If we pass this proposal, it may make us feel good, but the proposal doesn’t in any way resolve consistent concerns about deer issues. Not about numbers, not about plants, and not about traffic. What is being proposed is a quick fix that’s inhumane and ineffective.”