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Pilot Program Allows Oregon Cities To Kill Deer

Urban deer are rampant in many Oregon cities. They eat people’s gardens, chase people with dogs, and weave through traffic. But starting in January, some cities will have a chance to get deer kill permits from the state.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday is proposing rules for a pilot program allowing cities to kill deer. As they’re drafted, the rules largely put responsibility for running the program into the hands of cities.

“The key thing is it’s really going to be directed by the city that's affected,” spokesman Michelle Dennehy said. “So the city will ask to gain the support of its residents for these removals”

Before joining the pilot program, cities need to pass an ordinance that prohibits residents from feeding deer. They can then gauge community support any way it chooses, like through a town hall, public meeting, or poll.

After joining the program, the city can decide how to kill the deer and who will do the killing, so long as they avoid chemicals — that means no tranquilizers or poison. If city officials decide to use traps, they have to kill the deer on the spot.

With those restrictions, gunfire remains the primary means of killing deer. Most cities have ordinances prohibiting anyone but law enforcement officers from discharging firearms within city limits, so local police might get stuck with the job of euthanizing city deer.

Another rule: cities need to harvest the deer meat and donate it to charity.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.