Eau Claire (WQOW)- Eau Claire City Council voted almost unanimously Tuesday in favor of taking action to manage the growing deer population.
By a vote of 10-1, council members approved a management plan that would allow bow hunters and sharp shooters to hunt in designated ares in the city, which could eventually include public places like Putnam Park and the city well field areas. It's a plan that was originally recommended by retired DNR biologist John Dunn earlier this year after conducting a deer count using a helicopter over the city and totaling more than 300.
However for this fall and winter, bow hunting within city limits will only be allowed on private land.
One of the council's main concerns was how to let the community know when public hunts would be taking place. Councilman Kathy Mitchell said people are going to have questions and safety concerns.
"There has to be conversation with the neighborhood so that they can ask questions. What's going to happen, who's going to be there, are you going to block it off, and are there going to be signs," said Mitchell.
The council agreed to add an amendment stating that when public hunts are scheduled, city staff will create a process to inform the community and nearby neighborhoods.
City officials said hiring a sharp shooter would cost about $250 per deer, which would end up costing the city around $20,000 to $30,000. The earliest this would be budgeted for is in 2016.