The Aiken Standard certainly gave prominent treatment to Mr. DiSibio’s article on culling deer in Woodside! Mr. DiSibio has many credentials but living with deer is not one of them. Living in Woodside, he is part of the minority that are against culling the deer.
Mr. DiSibio correctly states that there was a previous vote in Woodside about culling the deer which residents were against. All of us respected that vote even though many disagreed. So, what has changed?
The deer population has exploded, and has resulted in them becoming a real nuisance and a danger to residents. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t have to stop to avoid hitting them with my car. Driving here at night is a real hazard. It is not unusual to see groups of 10 to 15 deer crossing roadways.
Last week one died, near my house and the owner had to arrange to have the stinking carcass removed. We have always had deer nibble a few plants that they really find tasty. We learned to avoid planting those plants. But now, they are starving and eating everything that is within their reach. Is it any wonder that, in the most recent vote, over two thirds of residents voted to cull the deer. Those of us who voted to do this do not want to eliminate these beautiful animals from our community; we just want to bring their population to a more reasonable level.
What caused this deer explosion? it has been blamed on us humans for taking over their habitat. However, when I first moved here deer were certainly not the problem we have now. I believe the explosion in their population is an unexpected consequence of the expanding Woodside becoming part of the City of Aiken. When this area was in the county deer hunting was allowed. That human intervention along with natural predators kept the population in check.
Upon becoming part of the city, hunting was curtailed allowing the deer population to explode. Of course, not allowing the discharge of firearms by the general public within city limits is a wise and necessary law but using such a law to justify the perpetuation of the unsatisfactory situation for the deer and people that live in Woodside was probably not its intention. Many communities in South Carolina allow sharpshooters, often policemen, to cull deer. It has proven to be a safe and effective method of controlling deer and is endorsed by the SC Department of Natural Resources. There are strict rules for these culling operations. One such rule requires that all harvested meat be donated to a local food bank. What a win-win situation for our community.
Aiken City Council should look at all the facts and make a decision based on those facts. I hope they will decide to do what is right for both our residents and the deer.