|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.
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|