SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston City Council passed an urban deer-hunting ordinance Thursday night.
The measure, recommended by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, is the only option for controlling the deer population, according to Mayor Frank Mullens, who said it was determined that tranquilizing and relocating deer was not a viable alternative.
"When I first heard about it, I was opposed to the idea, like many people who just weren't educated about how urban deer hunting works," he said. After meetings with the DNR, Mullens said he came to realize that the proposal, which includes an application and permit process and training classes, ensures hunting will be "as safe as it can be for an urban area."
He stressed that 90 percent of the population will be completely unaware of the fact that urban hunting is ongoing and "people won't be running through your yards trying to shoot deer."
According to City Engineer Steve DeBarr, there are only about 15 properties within the city limits that qualify for consideration and population control, and it will take time.
City officials are "working on finalizing the rules and regulations for the urban deer hunting," City Attorney Michael Moore said. Final legislation will be available next week, and hunting should begin in early September.
In other business:
"We've had a growing issue in neighborhoods where homeowners have taken in boarders," Mullens said. "Complaints as simple as parking and as serious as drug activity have been brought to our attention."