AVON – The Village of Avon plans to alter an ordinance that bans hunting in the Village in an attempt to decrease the local deer population and reduce negative deer-human encounters.
A deer management oversight committee headed by Avon resident Don Mastin will soon begin researching rules to be proposed for the hunt, including who gets to hunt, with what tools, where, and how many deer they can take. Mayor Thomas Freeman said that the plan is to open a nuisance deer season for likely fewer than 20 specially permitted hunters to hunt over bait from September 1 to March 31.
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“We don’t have a lot of car-deer accidents but we have a lot of near misses because speeds are low in the Village,” said Avon Police Chief Gary Benedict. “They get hung up and die on the fence at the cemetery. […] They’re also not afraid of people. If you approach them, they do not move. You can walk almost right up and touch them. Eventually there will be an encounter that will not go well for somebody.”
The hunting ordinance modification will be based on the Village of Trumansburg, NY’s Deer Management Program for 2014, available here. Mastin agreed to drive to Trumansburg, an hour and a half away in Tompkins County, to see the areas where their hunting program was implemented. He will consult a member of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC also worked on Trumansburg’s hunt program. Village Attorney Reid Whiting will draft the ordinance modification.
“I think the Trumansburg plan in general is great because they’re making sure that all property owners are notified and either agree or don’t agree,” said Mastin. “Permission is important. Then, they use tree stands, only shooting archery, and making sure that all arrows are accounted for because of the broadheads on the arrows.”
Benedict said that he is familiar with the Town of Irondequoit Police Department’s plan for screening hunters and performing background checks since they shared their plan with him. The man who runs Irondequoit’s deer management program lives in Geneseo and could be consulted for advice. Police Officer Joe Geer will be a member of Avon’s deer management committee.
“Irondequoit actually runs a test to make sure whoever the person is can actually hit the target,” said Benedict.
Freeman said that all state-level hunting and shooting laws would apply in the hunt. Hunters would have to be 100 feet away from a building to legally discharge their bows.
The Village would not provide any equipment to hunters. Hunting would likely be from about two hours before sunset to 11 p.m., with use of red lights permitted after dark. Hunters would be permitted to keep the deer they take as meat, or donate them to food drives like during normal hunting seasons.
So far, confirmed committee members include Mastin, Officer Joe Geer and Village Trustee Rob Hayes. Hayes has been on both sides of the fence on the village deer hunting discussion, which has been going on since 2011. Freeman said that community members who are anti-deer hunt should also be on the committee to have their thoughts heard.
“I’ve been involved with [the deer management discussion] since the get-go,” said Hayes. “I very seldom see deer in my yard. I’d be happy to play devil’s advocate.”
The deer hunting discussion gathered quite a bit of heat when it first surged into the public arena. See the GeneseeSun.com’s coverage of the discussion in 2011 below.