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Gainesville cultivating list of deer hunters
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Gainesville’s manager of code enforcement wants to make sure that, come September, it’s not open season on Riverside Drive with lines of pickup trucks leaving with deer strapped to the top.

City officials have promised the neighborhood’s residents they will make a list of trustworthy hunters that can help deal with the area’s deer population.

Already Gary Kansky, manager of the city’s code enforcement division, said he has been contacted by a number of people who want to be involved.

The deer population has become an issue as Gainesville developed from a mostly rural area to an urban environment. A study by the state’s Department of Natural Resources said the state’s deer population has grown from 198,000 to 1 million in the past 35 years.

And residents living in the Riverside Drive area have taken notice. Last week, the various neighborhood watch groups in the area held a meeting with DNR and city officials to discuss options for controlling the area’s deer.

State officials have advocated controlled hunts in the area.

But before deer hunting season begins in September, Kansky wants to come up with a list of qualifications for in-city hunters that give city residents as much assurance as possible that the folks bringing bows and arrows onto their property are trustworthy.

“We’re looking at a process of how we’re going to have these people come in and do this,” Kansky said. “... There are so many things we have to look at. The biggest thing is safety, safety, safety.”

As he forms a list of qualifications, Kansky said he’ll consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state’s DNR and, of course, neighborhood residents.

“I need something from them as what they would like. ... This is their property; this is their home. They need to have a say in this,” Kanksy said.

Kansky wants there to be a way that area residents can identify hunters’ vehicles in the area, and a way for city officials to control the number of people hunting at one time.

However, the process of making a list of qualifications for those hunters is only in its “crawl” stages, Kansky said. And he said he has no real time line yet on when he’ll have the list of guidelines ready.

“We’re in the crawl phase; we’re not even walking yet,” Kansky said.

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