Shooting Deer With Paintballs Met With Increasing Opposition

ᔥ Michael Sangiacomo -

Shooting deer with a paintball gun is a good deterrent to the increasing deer problem in this dense suburban community, a city council member said.

But an Ohio Division of Wildlife official said  "painted deer running around Ohio" is a bad idea.

"It might work for the short term, scare the deer away, but the deer would come back," said Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor with the state wildlife division. "The real answer is fencing, planting vegetation the deer do not like."

Peters is among a growing number of people who say Avon city councilman David Kos' unusual suggestion for dealing with the deer problem won't work.

"It's like dumping a shaker of salt into the ocean and expecting it to raise the ph level," councilman John Shondel said of Kos' idea for using paintball guns. "It's an idea, but not one that has great promise. I think I agree with the Department of Natural Resources on this one."

Shondel said he respects the need to come up with ideas about the deer situation, but does not believe shooting them with paintball guns would be very effective.

Kos, chairman of the council safety committee, made the suggestion last week to alter the city's ban on paintball guns to allow homeowners to shoot the deer and frighten them away. He's now putting off the proposal until mid-November.

"The problem is that there are a number of people in the city who would not be able to use archery equipment on the deer either because their property is too close to their neighbor or their property is too small," Kos said. "I believe they should be allowed to use a paintball gun to fire at the deer to scare them off without actually harming them."

The city recently approved allowing some property owners to use bows and arrows to shoot deer on their property. The resident must first get a permit from the state wildlife division and approval of the local police department.

Kos said the number of deer in Avon Lake has become a problem as the animals get more used to being around people.

"The deer walk right into yards and will not leave," Kos said. "We've had reports from people who say they actually feel threatened by the deer. They shout at them, squirt them with hoses, bang pots and pans and the deer just stare. Imagine a 10-point buck in rutting season in your yard. It could be quite dangerous.

"We had a local woman who was actually attacked by a female deer that thought the woman's dog was threatening her fawn, so this can happen."

Kos said shooting the deer in the legs would startle them without causing real injury. He said he is not proposing paintball guns as an alternative to the current culling of the deer population in the city.

Mayor Greg Zilka noted that there have been two other recent incidents where deer broke through picture windows of houses and caused damage before leaping out, wounded, through other windows. Zilka said paintballs are not the answer.


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