Helicopter Over Avon Lake is Counting Deer
Helicopter survey deemed necessary prior to start of culling program.
If you see a helicopter flying overhead this week, don’t be alarmed.
The helicopter, which will include an Avon Lake police officer, will be flying over Avon Lake attempting to count the number of deer inhabiting the city. The city is waiting for the first snowfall, which enables the helicopter’s occupants to more easily spot the deer.
“We will be seeing a helicopter; it will be flying in a grid formation recording deer,” Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said.
When the count occurs depends on the weather. On March 4, Zilka said Wednesday was a possibility due to potential snow, but on March 6, his office said a flight wasn’t scheduled because of lack of snowfall.
The city has put aside $4,000 for the helicopter survey. They have contracted with Precision Helicopter Services to conduct the survey.
T.J. Bencin, owner of Precision Helicopter Services said it was likely the count would happen this week.
A snow cover makes for a better count, since it’s easier to spot the deer.
ODNR recommends the process over infrared process used at night. Using a helicopter
“There seem to be a lot more animals than we think,” Zilka said, saying he has heard numbers from 40 up to 300.
“We had one man last week who said he saw at least 118 deer in one day in a square mile,” Zilka said at the March 4 council meeting.
Councilman John Shondel noted the Service Department collected more than 48 dear carcasses in 2012.
“So there is obviously more than 40 deer,” Shondel said.
ODNR recommends that before the city moves ahead with the culling program, it completes a helicopter count.
In January, City Council ended a multi-year debate as to how to control the city’s deer population. The new legislation authorizes Zilka, Police Chief David Owad and other officials to develop a deer control plan.
Zilka said he wanted the public to be aware of the helicopter flying above, particularly residents in the city’s southeast quadrant. Some residents were complaining of helicopter noise, believing part of the problem was helicopter traffic from the new Avon Cleveland Clinic. Zilka said in February, the clinic conducted 62 flights, only nine of which strayed from the I-90 flight path.