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Carrboro passes on urban deer hunt

By Kirk Ross
Staff Writer

Carrboro — At its meeting Tuesday night at Town Hall, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen opted not to pursue a violent end for the town’s rising deer population and followed the lead of its neighbor to the east by authorizing an educational campaign instead.

The board received a follow-up report on how to control the town’s deer population. On April 20, residents urged the board to consider ways to reduce the population because of the destruction of plants, concerns about the spread of tick-borne illnesses and increased risks to motorists.

But a review of alternatives called into question the effectiveness of urban archery hunts as well as concerns about safety.

At Tuesday’s meeting Carrboro Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison told the board she did not think a secure place could be found to conduct a hunt, even in areas around UNC’s Carolina North property and Bolin Creek.

“It would be very difficult to establish a perimeter and keep people safe,” she said. The chief also noted that last year only 83 deer were taken during urban archery hunts statewide.

“I have to wonder how big an impact that has on the deer population.”

Last year, the Chapel Hill Town Council reserved the option to sign up with the N.C. Fish and Wildlife Commission to hold an urban archery deer hunt. But the town did not end up applying for a hunt and instead set up a campaign to educate residents about deer-resistant plants, repellants and fencing.

Two other options – capture and relocation, and sterilization – are not approved under state law. Even if they were, Town Manager Steve Stewart cautioned that those options are cost prohibitive and would likely not be effective. Capturing and euthanizing the deer also was deemed too costly to pursue.

The board approved a public-information plan to educate residents about deer-management methods and asked for the study of a potential ordinance to outlaw feeding deer in the town.

In other action Tuesday night, the board heard a report on the Weaver Street reconstruction plan. Public Works director George Seiz said town planners continue to refine the phasing plan to reduce the impact on businesses.

The town is in the process of obtaining construction easements for the $1.8 million project and Seiz said he anticipates opening bids in November or December. The project includes a reconstruction of the road bed and subgrade and installation of an expanded sewer line and new curb and gutter and stormwater systems.

The board asked that it be apprised of the impact on businesses during the reconstruction as well as the effects of the closure of Weaver Street on traffic on Main and Greensboro streets. Aldermen Dan Coleman said the information would be helpful when reviewing traffic circulation downtown.

The board also approved an update to the county’s 10-year plan for solid-waste reduction. Board members said that they would like to see the county place a strong emphasis on source reduction.

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