While the debate over whether or not Avon Lake has too many deer, one resident--who hit two deer in city limits within six months--shared his story with Avon Lake Patch. He explained why he thinks there are too many deer.
The first time Jeff Creter hit a deer was the fall of 2010. The Avon Lake resident was on Lake Road when a deer ran in front of him.
“I hit the brakes but still hit it,” Creter said. “It flew 50 feet in the air.”
Although his Nissan Altima suffered extensive damage, what Creter found to be most disturbing was watching the full-grown deer suffer after the collision.
“Its legs were clearly broken, it was bleeding,” he said of the deer, before it was put down by the Avon Lake Police. “It was such a beautiful animal.”
Creter had his car fixed only to hit another deer with the same vehicle this March.
“I was on Walker Road at about 6 a.m. when a deer just ran in front of the car,” he said. “I was going about 35 miles per hour and it wiped out the front of the car.”
For the second time Creter escaped injury. And for the second time, Creator watched as Avon Lake Police put down an injured deer.
“It’s jut horrible to see an animal hit like that,” he said. “It was excruciating to watch; a terrible way to die.”
Creter's wife, Debbie, was grateful her husband wasn’t hurt, but isn’t entirely surprised the accidents happened. The 23-year Avon Lake residents said when she first moved here there weren’t many deer.
“This year I’ve seen 12 fawns already,” she said, recalling a mother and fawn she narrowly missed hitting on Electric Boulevard two weeks ago.
“Now they’re like squirrels,” Jeff said. “They’re everywhere.”
Both are concerned that more accidents can occur and harm not just deer, but people as well.
“My sister’s friend lost her son when a deer crashed through his window,” she said of an accident that did not occur in Avon Lake.
The couple said they believe culling in the city is needed.
Through June 6, Avon Lake police received 12 reports of deer-vehicle crashes involving 13 vehicles in 2011. The first reported incident of the year, on Jan. 9, involved a southbound driver on Moore hitting deer and the deer was then hit again by a northbound driver.
Two of those 12 incidents involved deer hitting vehicles. Three of the accidents were on Lake Road.
Increase in deer could lead to culling legislation
Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch has been leading the effort to count the number of deer in Avon Lake through a spotlight program to submit information to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which will then determine if culling efforts are needed in Avon Lake.
Presently, ODNR issues hunting permits under strict regulations.
The Environmental Affairs Advisory Board will continue a “spotlight program” through the fall. The effort includes early morning drives using a spotlight in certain areas and counting the deer seen.
“What we see is less than 30 percent of the actual population,” Fenderbosch, who has said on several occasions there are too many deer in city, recently said. She has said in addition to the dangers of potential accidents, the deer have been damaging property and eating plants and vegetables.
If ODNR determines there are too many deer, the department can recommend 30-50 percent harvested annually. Fenderbosch said culling legislation could be reviewed by council in January of 2012.