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Hunters available to control deer in Gainesville
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To make a complaint

To make a deer complaint or ask for a list of local hunters, contact Gary Kansky, manager of Gainesville’s code enforcement division at 770-531-6570.

City residents think they have an answer to the deer population along Riverside Drive.

Neighbors in the area have contacted local hunters to control the numbers, but recently other Gainesville residents are becoming concerned.

During last week's City Council meeting, council member Bob Hamrick brought up the deer question that persisted in the neighborhood in February.

"The deer are still present, and that's what I was asking about," Hamrick said Tuesday. "We had a number of residents at the neighborhood meetings in February concerned, and one suggestion was to thin out the crop, so to speak, and I wanted to know what we did to initiate any sort of program. We haven't heard a report or update
from the residents."

For now, the question is left in each resident's hands.

City officials compiled a list of experienced local hunters and businesses who could help the neighborhood, and some residents may move forward by contacting them in the next few weeks now that deer hunting season is in full swing.

"There's been so much division about whether people want hunting in their yards, and I think it turned into a bigger problem than it should have. It's still touchy," said Dana Chapman, a member of the neighborhood watch group who led meetings about the deer issue in
February. "I haven't had anybody contact me yet for the list, and I think property owners are contacting hunters privately. We have the same problem we had two years ago with starving deer outside our windows, but there's no more concern or need for discussion other than dealing with it privately."

The group met with state Department of Natural Resources officials to talk about options in February.

"The last contact we had with the neighborhood group was at that February meeting," said Ken Riddleberger, the Georgia DNR area supervisor for game management in the Wildlife Resources Division. "We talked about ideas and explained that it's between the people in the neighborhood and the hunters. We helped me to make contacts during the meeting."

A few local groups already have permission to hunt urban parts of the county. Archery season started Sept. 11, but action on many northern Georgia properties has been slow because of the hot weather.

"People haven't been out hunting in the numbers they normally would have," Riddleberger said. "We've seen some slight reductions in deer in the northern parts of the state because of poor acorn crops with the drought, but this year's acorn crop was tremendous in the mountains, which drives the deer herd in north Georgia."

When urban areas, such as the Riverside neighborhood, don't have hunting pressure or a factor to control overpopulation, the department promotes using local bow hunters to reduce the numbers.

It is illegal to trap and relocate deer in Georgia. And although a resident can legally hunt on his or her own property, it is illegal to shoot a firearm in the Gainesville city limits.

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

After the February meeting, Gary Kansky, manager of the city's code enforcement division, drafted a list of qualifications for in-city hunters to give to residents.

Kansky hasn't received any other complaints since February, but Gainesville residents can contact him for the list of names if they want help in their own neighborhoods.

"Don't feed the deer. The biggest problem is that people feed the cute little deer, and they grow up and bring their friends and family back," Kansky said. "They're eating your flowers because they've eaten everything else on the food chain."


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