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Deer hunts underway at area metro parks

More than 20 deer were tagged at Slate Run Metro Park Monday and Tuesday this week. It's part of a controlled hunt at two Franklin County Metro Parks during this week's deer gun hunt season.

Every half hour or so workers at the Slate Run Metro Park maintenance garage could hear a gun shot or two in the distance. Some park workers wondered if the shot was successful. By the end of the two-day hunt, the Slate Run deer population will be thinned out by 20 percent. Carrie Morrow is a research manager for the Franklin County Metro Parks. She said the hunts are necessary.

"Within the park you do see a decrease in spring wild flowers and other vegetation and that affects other animals that rely on those species. We do notice that road kill are higher in areas of higher deer population so you're having that vehicular and deer contact," Morrow said.

The Slate Run hunt is invitation only - 23 people were invited this year, and everyone is allowed to bring a hunting partner. Morrow said since there are no natural predators to control the deer population, a deer gun hunt was the best option.

"It has been a success and we've noticed that the vegetation is not as hindered and not as effected so it's bouncing back with a healthy population of deer," Morrow said. And Morrow said since the hunt started nine years ago, the number of vehicle accidents involving deer near Slate Run have decreased. About 100 deer live in the 1,800 acre park. Hunters are allowed to tag one buck and one doe or fawn during the two-day hunt. Clear Creek Metro Park's acreage is open to hunters through Thursday.