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I just read William Hardman's letter about the deer "problem" on Riverside Drive. I do agree that the problem on Riverside is one of perspective; the deer are just doing what comes natural to them and the "solution" is certainly not to kill them.
While I support hunting as a necessary tool to maintain healthy herd populations and support hunters' rights to hunt deer and other game, I do not think it wise to hunt in town. First, it is dangerous to bow hunt if it is possible to accidently shoot another person, especially a child. Second, I do not want people trespassing on other people's property.
As far as I know there has been no vote by individual property owners in the area to allow hunting on their property. The city has no authority to authorize hunting on private land without the express consent of the landowner. The idea of allowing bow hunting on Riverside Drive poses too many risks to homeowners and the many people who walk and run on the street daily.
I happen to live on Riverside Drive and enjoy the rich diversity of wildlife on my property, including the deer. I have seen the 12-point buck on several occasions and want him safe to go about his business. I maintain my yard as a wildlife sanctuary free from pesticides and fertilizers. Consequently, we have woodpeckers, hawks, owls, snakes, spiders, toads, groundhogs, squirrels, shrews, hummingbirds, robins, box turtles and every kind of insect imaginable, including walking sticks and praying mantises. Just like the good Lord intended.
We have lots of trees and cover where the deer live and thrive and I intend to keep it that way. So, for my neighbors who have a problem with the deer, you can either move somewhere else or try planting things that the deer do not want to eat. But hunting is not an option.
And to the city of Gainesville, I would suggest checking with your city attorney (who happens to be my next-door neighbor) before allowing hunting in a populated neighborhood and the liability exposure you risk.
Daniel A. Summer