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Newly publicized documents are raising questions about a planned deer kill in the Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. Activists opposed to the kill presented information to the Bloomington City Council during public comment last night. The city’s permit to begin sharpshooting deer in the preserve takes effect Saturday. Maria Heslin, a former deputy mayor who opposes the sharpshooting, said she recently obtained a copy of the permit application the city submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources.
The application actually states it will probably take 10 to 20 years of, “sustained management,” for the forest understory to fully recover at Griffy. Proponents of the the cull have cited ecological damage caused by deer overpopulation, although their opponents say there is no proof there are too many deer at Griffy. Heslin said the permit application presents new concerns for those opposed to the cull.
The Council did not respond to Heslin’s questions. They also didn’t discuss a separate document presented by Sandra Shapshay, who has also been a vocal opponent of the kill. Shapshay said a fellow activist filed a public records request to obtain an email sent to Council member Dave Rollo in April of last year. Shapshay said the email came from Indiana University biologist Angie Shelton, whose work has been commonly cited by those in favor of sharpshooting. She says to make an accurate estimate, the pellet count would have to cover the entire Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.
Shapshay said the additional pellet count would have cost $500. The city is paying $31,000 for a private firm to do the sharpshooting this year. Another resident, Hattie Clark, asked the Council to respond to the public’s concerns. She says it seems everyone sits quietly without responding to the important questions.
The Council did not respond. But several Council members did discuss the deer issue earlier in the meeting during the Council comments section. Council member Rollo asked the activists to consider the entire ecosystem in the nature preserve.
Council member Darryl Neher said he plans to be at Griffy when the company, White Buffalo, does the sharpshooting.
Activists have proposed a new ordinance that would put the sharpshooting on hold for two years. But no Council member has introduced that measure for consideration. The cull could begin as soon as this weekend.