Voters will have an opportunity to vote on potential legislation that would allow for controlled hunting of white-tailed deer in North Royalton. The measure has been placed on the March 15 Primary ballot.
Although hunting is currently forbidden in North Royalton, “ the exploding regional deer population urgently requires deer management efforts. The white-tailed deer population in urban areas has grown to unmanageable numbers with the corresponding financial loss suffered by property owners, in the destruction of plants, flowers, trees and other edible landscaping. Additionally, deer/vehicle accidents increase annually and threaten the lives and property of all those who travel by vehicle on our streets and highways,” according to city officials. Although the Ohio Revised Code notes that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is granted the authority and control over all wild animals in the state, “the ODNR’s response to this deer population explosion has been to issue “information” to our cities and our residents on non-lethal techniques for addressing deer damage. The cities will continue to cooperate with and encourage the ODNR to investigate and establish long-term and non-lethal deer management solutions,” according to city officials.
On November 18, the North Royalton City Council unanimously adopted a resolution that would allow a deer hunting measure to be placed on the March 15 ballot. The resolution is one that also came in front of City Councils of Parma, Parma Heights, Seven Hills, Broadview Heights and Strongsville, in a regional effort to thin the herd of deer in the area.
According to city officials, “in the past, our communities have individually approached the problem utilizing various methods but the growing deer population remains an issue for our communities, the environment and the overall well-being of the deer. It is clear that the management of the deer population is a matter of regional concern which must be addressed by a joint program in coordination with the ODNR. The communities discussed appropriate collaborative policies, procedures and protocols for effective deer population management, both short-term and long-term.”
Each of the five cities held public information meetings last November to publicize the measure and inform residents of what the legislation would entail. Mayor Bob Stefanik and North Royalton Law Director Tom Kelly explained that the measure would go to the voters in an effort to get a pulse on the wishes of the constituency.
The resolution addresses the city’s “Codified Ordinances of the City of North Royalton, Part Six General Offenses Code, Chapter 618 Animals, Section 618.12 Hunting Prohibited.” If passed in the March election and then approved by Council, an ordinance would then be drafted that would permit the limited hunting of white-tailed deer by cross bow or long bow.
The measure will now be submitted to the electorate for the March 15 ballot. If the measure passes in March, it will then go back to the North Royalton City Council for a vote, before it would be allowed in the city of North Royalton.