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Friday, May 23, 2014

2013/2014 Archery Report for Deer Control in Fort Thomas Issued

Increased Hunting Hours Still Yield Higher Amount of Vehicle Crashes
Photo credit: Heather Hall

Fort Thomas began crafting ordinances to deal with the increasing deer population in 2007. Since then council members have come and gone, revisions and nuances of the ordinance have been enacted and countless hours of debate have occurred.

Most recently in October of 2013, council amended the ordinance once again to allow the discharge of arrows from a half-hour before sunrise to 10:00 AM and to allow owners of contiguous lots cumulatively three acres in size to combine their lots.

There were three applications submitted to the city seeking permission to combine lots, with two of those lots receiving approval.

The determining factor for gauging the effectiveness of the programs is the numbers of deer-related vehicle accidents that have occurred in the city. There were 27 reported accidents during 2013, which was an increase of seven accidents from 2012.

Memorial Parkway once again led the way with frequency of accidents. There have been 54 deer-related accidents report on Memorial Parkway since 2003. The next highest frequency for location is Route 8, which saw 23 accidents over the same time period. The locations of accidents during 2013 are as follows:

Memorial Parkway 12 accidents
Alexandria Pike 4 accidents
Route 8         3 accidents
S. Fort Thomas Avenue 3 accidents
5 other locations each had 1 accident

Since enacting the first deer management ordinances in Fort Thomas in 2007, with exception to a decrease seen in 2009 and 2010, deer-related accidents have increased each year since 2007.


Year Accidents
2003 8
2004 12
2005 12
2006 13
2007 11
2008 19
2009 14
2010 13
2011 19
2012 20
2013 27

In February of 2013 the city paid Vision Air Research to conduct an aerial survey of deer population and found 96 deer in the city, which equates to around 15 deer per square mile. According to the report prepared by the city, they conducted “internet research” that showed maximum deer density can be up to 20 deer per square mile.

The city has also consulted with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife who has indicated the preferred density for deer is up to 15 per square mile.

Previously Vision Air Research was contracted in 2011 and counted 132 deer and 2010 and counted 205 deer. The aerial surveys paid for by the city would indicate that the archery program is thinning the deer population in Fort Thomas, however the increase in deer-related vehicle crashes tells a different story. 

Two conclusions can be drawn from the archery report:
1) The Vision Air Research study is not accurate.
2) The ordinance, which has been amended four times since 2007, is not curbing the deer population.

Photo credit: Lauren Ries


  1. Other possible conclusions from the data: 1) the motor vehicle deer reduction program is working... just give it a few more years, or 2) posted speed limit on Memorial Parkway is too high... especially where it has the big bend with limited line of sight, or 3) having consumed all my hosta in my yard, the deer are now foraging in the road.

  2. Potential policy responses based on data... 1) extend archery-deer reduction program to Memorial Parkway, or 2) increase speed limit on Memorial Parkway to enhance effectiveness of the MV-deer reduction program, or 3) plant hosta in the median along Ft. Thomas Avenue.

  3. As an avid Deer hunter and former resident of Ft Thomas during the 2007-2009 seasons I can tell you that there are two problems with the ordinance and only one of those can be fixed. First is that even though they have "increased" the time allowed to hunt it is in the morning and that pretty much takes anybody with a job out of the picture. They should include at least 4 hours in the evening. The second one that you are not going to be able to fix and one of the reasons I stopped hunting in town was being harassed by the Antihunting crowd. I consider myself to be pretty good with my bow but delivering a shot that kills the deer in its tracks is almost impossible so when it runs into the neighbors yard that does not support hunting or onto land that is owned by the city but residents think is theirs you have two choices leave the deer and arrow or deal with a belligerent individual who is calling the police wasting their time and yours. My suggestion is the city has a lottery to pick 12 hunters that are endorsed by the city and are authorized to hunt any where any time for the whole season inside the city limits that can be deemed safe.

  4. Are the stats from the fish and wildlife for a heavily populated area or for a forest?

  5. I laughed while reading the aerial view report. At times I have seen a herd of fourteen in my yard. They are eating "deer resistant" plants out of sheer necessity for survival. I have had them snort and charge me when walking the dog in my yard. My sister-in-law had to use a garbage can for a shield against a charging deer. I like to see wildlife, but deer sightings should be occasional and not everyday. How many accidents have to occur before a real action plan is implemented?

  6. What good does the city allowing you to hunt do when the people that own the private land won't let you? How do you get permission to hunt?