Hunters in the Ohio town of Avon Lake rejoiced last month after a new ordinance allowed year-round bow hunting for the purpose of managing the deer population. However, City Council member Dave Kos recently introduced a new alternative that has come under criticism by wildlife officials: using paintballs to scare the animals away.

“It’s been discussed with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that shooting a deer near the hoof with a paintball gun will get them to scatter,” Kos told The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

Kos, who believed that the ordinance was less than safe, proposed the paintball solution for residents who had nuisance deer, but were either unable to procure a deer control permit or were unwilling to use firearms. Avon Lake has been struggling with handling nuisance deer for years, and officials say that the local population has grown out of hand. In addition to becoming a hazard for local motorists, the animals have also been ripping up lawns, degrading nearby forests, and in at least one incident, even attacked a resident. The City Council has been in talks for more efficient deer management for the past two years, but not everyone approved of hunting. Some say that the year-round season could be dangerous for residents, while others wanted a non-lethal solution.

“Let me stress that to do nothing is also an unsafe situation,” Mayor Greg Zilka told Fox 8.

Residents can now manage the deer themselves, provided they can gain a deer control permit from local police. To that, hunters need to present officials with a detailed map of where they will be hunting, the signature of the property owner, and fill out an application. For those eager to skip the process, Kos says that paintball guns could offer an alternative.

Wildlife officials however, have doubts over whether the paintballs will actually scare the deer away. While the animal may be initially startled by the impact of paintball, the harmless projectile may not prevent the deer from returning. Geoff Westerfield, DNR wildlife management supervisor, said that deer are often struck by branches and other objects in the wild. In addition, officials say that opening the door to shooting deer with paintballs may lead to harassment.

“I really don’t want to deal with phone calls of a polka-dot deer running around town because it’s gotten hit with 17 different colors of paint balls,” Westerfield told the Chronicle-Telegram.

Kos says he will bring up the issue again in the fall.

Image from Nado on the Wikimedia Commons

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4 thoughts on “Ohio Town Considers Paintball Guns for Nuisance Deer

  1. 86 those hard little synthetic balls of color. Promote more razor-tipped projectiles in the hands of ‘tested’ hunters harvest the bounties if they’ve become that much of a “problem”. “Share the Harvest” and feed needy Americans with the spoils that the hunter doesn’t take for his larder. Better yet, tell the Insurance Industry to suck it up Buttercup, because I’m willing to bet Insurer’s bottom line is the driving force for the major’s “Let me stress that to do nothing is also an unsafe situation,”motivation. The critters were here before ‘civilized’ man. Utilize them wisely, eat venison, don’t make a fuss when they eat your precious potted plants and drive slower in a more attuned fashioned to the world around you.

  2. In the non-lethal vein of thinking, has anyone tried ostracizing the deer? If we act like mean girls maybe they get discouraged and just leave. It saves arrows, kids, and we don’t have to listen to the interference from the standing potbelly political class.

    Or uncommon sense might say, use qualified archers and reduce the population, so they can exist in a more “normal” environment. The hostas and begonias are not high on a deers list of favorite foods. That means they are really hungry when they brave peoples yards, cars, dogs, etc. in order to get a bite. So consider the stress they live under in numbers too big for the allotted environment.

    Feeding the hungry is a fine idea. Reduce hunger for people too.

  3. Simple solutions. The one’s who don’t want the deer “hurt” can continue to do nothing and suffer the consequences of inaction. Those who do not oppose killing deer can either do it themselves or pay someone capable of doing it safely for them.

    Those who want to spit paintballs at the deer can do so since it will basically have them in the first group of people. The other group might welcome the deer being all painted up, especially if the paint dots are all in kill zones. Easier to see and aim at.
    Like Bambi-lovers everywhere else, these morons have let a problem become an epidemic because of their inability to make a rational decision when it is needed.
    Kind of like our President in that regard, aren’t they? Maybe they should follow his leadership and just book a tee time.

  4. The new ordinance passed about scaring away the deer by hitting them with paintballs is controversial. People are saying that it is a very bad idea. It is better to either hunt the dear so its meat can be used by people or there must be some other solutions for controlling their growing population.

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