(INDIANAPOLIS) - An animal rights group says it will fight any effort to bring deer hunting to Eagle Creek Park.
Indy Parks and the city's Office of Sustainability are talking about possibly allowing hunting to thin out the deer population, which they contend is causing the demise of wildflowers and other vegetation.
The office commissioned a study from an ecologist at Purdue University which, according to spokesman Scott Manning, showed the deer population as being ten times larger than normal at Eagle Creek.
The leader of the Indiana Animal Rights Alliance is skeptical, "because there is only one true method to know how many deer you have in an area, and that's to do an aerial count. From what I gather, they have not done that," said Joel Kerr, the Alliance's executive director.
While other methods of controlling the deer population could be used, such as contraception, hunting is used to cull deer at state parks, and the state's Department of Natural Resources says it is the most effective method.
"We don't agree with them using it at state parks, either," said Kerr, adding that he believes this is more about the whims of what a handful of people want to see. "What this boils down to is that (the deer) are eating vegetation and wildflowers that people like to look at, so we want to kill them. That makes no sense."
Manning says the disappearance of wildflowers and other plants that are native to Eagle Creek Park is leading to non-native species of plants taking over, which throws the park's ecology out of balance.
Hunting on any city-owned park is illegal, so any plan to allow deer hunts at Eagle Creek Park would have to be approved by both the Parks and Recreation Board and by the City-County Council.
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