Efforts to reduce nuisance deer in Warsaw are continuing in this, the seventh year, of a state recognized selective hunting program.
Warsaw Common Council has voted unanimously to approve eight designated deer nuisance zones at the request of the Warsaw Deer Task Force. That number includes two newly designated areas. Those areas are the Northeast Zone, which includes the Warsaw Municipal Airport, and the East Central Zone, which includes an area east of Eastlake Drive to west of CR 325 East.
Councilman and Deer Task Force Chairman Jeff Grose asked for his council mates’ blessing in designating the areas, which will be included in this year’s controlled deer hunts. During Monday night’s meeting, he presented the program’s history and results, and noted how the local program has become a model for like programs throughout Indiana.
In the last six years, the controlled hunt has seen over 250 deer eliminated in the designated deer nuisance zones – 50 of them were taken last year alone – and over 90 percent of them have been does. “In the Warsaw program, the archers must take a doe to take a buck,” said Grose. “We started that and now it’s a state law.”
Grose added that for the reduction effort to be successful, the archers must dwindle the number of producing deer, or does, and that the results are becoming noticeable. One of those telltale signs of the effectiveness is in the area known as the Country Club Road Zone. Councilman Mike Klondaris said he’s seen more landscaping in that area due to less nuisance deer destroying it.
“At the end of the day, there may be one less car/deer accident and less property damage,” Grose said.
Safety is another big part of the deer reduction effort. Archers wanting to be part of the program must apply and then go through a training program held by the Warsaw Police Department and the Deer Task Force.
Archers must qualify at the training, then pass a background check. Grose noted archers chosen for this year’s controlled hunt will be notified by the end of this week or early next week. Over 60 archers met the skills qualifications this year.
From the start, Warsaw’s deer reduction program has put safety first. In the designated deer nuisance zones, archers are only permitted in wooded areas, must hunt from tree stands and must hunt at least 70 yards from homes. “Less than a 20-yard shot is also required,” Grose said, “and we’ve had very, very few problems.”
Grose added, “Indiana was concerned in the beginning, but now they look at Warsaw’s program as a guide for how to do this right. I appreciate the efforts of (former Warsaw Mayor) Ernie Wiggins, the past councils and our police department.”
Another benefit of the program is that many of the archers donate the deer and the processing of the meat to local charities and families in need. Said Grose, “Twenty of the 50 deer taken last year were donated and this costs nothing for the city. The archers pay for the (tags) and the processing. We’re fortunate.”
This year’s deer reduction effort is scheduled to begin Sept. 15 and run through Jan. 31, 2013. All qualifying archers who receive their notification in the next week, will be required to go to the Warsaw Police Department and register for hunting dates, times and locations. Grose said the sign up sheets will be available approximately 5 days prior to Sept. 15.
Also, property owners in the designated deer nuisance zones can apply to have city qualified archers hunt their property. Those applications will be reviewed by the Deer Task Force to assure the properties meet all qualifications for the city’s guidelines.
Archers interested in applying for the fall 2013 controlled hunt should note that registration dates will be held in July 2013.
In other council business:
- Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer noted, after speaking with officials from Chicago-Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad, the city will support a passenger rail study. The $80,000 study – largely being funded by Fort Wayne – will examine the possibilities of establishing passenger rail service to Chicago. Thallemer expects the city, with funding from additional organizations like the Warsaw/Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce and OrthoWorx, to put $5,000 into the study.
- It was noted the assessed valuation for the city of Warsaw dropped 8 percent due to re-assessments. “If the value of homes is less, that’s less money for the city,” Thallemer said. Those dollars will affect 2013 budgets. “There will have to be some cuts, without question,” he noted.
- The council voted on nonprofit allowances for 2013. Those include: $17,500 for the Animal Welfare League; $25,000 for the City-Council Athletic Complex; $18,500 for Kosciusko Area Bus Service; $12,600 for the Warsaw Community Development Corporation; and $25,000 each to the Warsaw Housing Authority and Housing Opportunities of Warsaw.