Community concerned with handling of its deer population

Published: Feb. 2, 2020 at 3:03 PM EST
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Some Buena Vista residents were confused Saturday when they weren't allowed to enter the city's park. The Buena Vista Police Department says it had blocked off the entrance for a hunt to control the deer population.

Residents say they're angry about the lack of communication.

Most mornings, Barry Slagle takes a drive through Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista; however, Saturday he was met with a road closed sign.

"I happened to run across a public works fella who works over here and he told me they were up here killing deer - the police department was," said Slagle.

Slagle was disturbed, but then said he saw something even more upsetting.

"I was looking up through the field and I seen a deer run out the woods, I didn't think anything of it, I thought he was just running, then I rode towards the deer and saw her hind leg dangling."

That's when Slagle and his girlfriend took to Facebook to share their concerns.

They quickly got a reaction when other residents were saying they weren't aware the hunt was happening over the weekend.

January 16, Council approved 7 to 0 a controlled hunt led by the police department to help decrease the deer population within Glen Maury Park. Lt. Mitch Harrison with BVPD spoke with WDBJ7 Saturday afternoon.

He said the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries had issued the city an Official Wildlife Kill permit because the deer in the park were deemed to be well outside the carrying capacity.

Harrison said they donated any deer meat to "Hunters for the Hungry," which helps those struggling with food insecurity. He even went on to say he asked "Hunters for the Hungry" how they could get the meat brought back to the Buena Vista community.

Harrison says in total the department killed 14 deer Saturday with the permit, and all were accounted for.

The police department says the officers volunteered their time and that no taxpayer dollars were used to conduct the hunt.

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