Deer, golf cart collisions on the rise at resort community

spectr17

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Few predators, shrinking inlet lead deer to island community


The Associated Press

Aug 20, 2002

BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C. -- Humans aren't the only ones enjoying the serenity of Bald Head Island these days.

An ample food supply and a predator-free environment has led to a growing problem with deer in the island community. Village officials are searching for a way to handle the situation without creating a safety or public relations problem.

Trapping, birth-control measures and petitioning the state for a special hunting permit are all possible population control options.

Village Manager Becky King said the growing abundance of deer has led to a corresponding increase in golf-cart accidents and nuisance calls. She said village officials and residents also are concerned about the deer's impact on the island's fragile ecosystem, including diseases that could be carried by the animals.

"It used to be very rare to see them when I moved here 20 years ago," Village Councilwoman Sylvia Timmons said. "It's not like that anymore."

Deer have been coming and going from Bald Head via water for years, but more appear to be staying and having offspring. Village officials said the closing of Corncake Inlet has apparently contributed to the increase.

The inlet, which separates the island from Fort Fisher, has narrowed in recent years and is now filled with sand.

With a village ban on hunting on the car-free island, there are few dangers forcing the deer to return to the mainland.

The Village Council is awaiting a final report, which will include population information gathered by state wildlife officials. The report is expected in the next few months.

Not all island residents are ready for open season on the deer.

"Bald Head Island is an area where we're supposed to live in harmony with nature," said resident Martha Hayworth. "So before we start doing something to the deer, let's check to make sure we really need to."

The town of Biltmore Forest in the western half of the state is also facing a rising deer population. Town officials have considered bringing in hunters to cull the population.

A resident's lawsuit two years ago derailed a proposal to have bow hunters kill deer, while some animal rights groups criticized the plan as a cruel method of killing.
 



Speckmisser

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I built a bunch of houses over on that island back in the early 80's.  It's an awesome place, accessible only by boat (or by a nearly impossible hike across the salt marsh).  The island residents are only allowed to travel around the island by foot, bicycle, or golf cart.  The only motor vehicles are the island police and construction crews.  

By agreement, the developers of the island are keeping a huge chunk of the property wild.  That makes for a unique habitat for deer, a couple of feral goats and pigs, and the birds that make the place so spectacular.  

When I was working there, I daydreamed about being able to slip into the thickets and set up for some of those deer.  Even then, they knew the deer were going to become a problem, especially as they finished up work on the golf course.  

Unfortunately, the majority of people who own there, by and large, are nouveau riche city folks.  They know next to nothing about hunting, and are easily swayed by the antis.  Wildlife to most of them consists of the cute and cuddly.  Well.. unless it's the coons raiding their trash.. or the gators in the golf course water hazards.  But other than that, they just can't imagine killing the sweet little deer and such.

The worst thing is, most of them simply have summer homes, and aren't even on the island during hunting season!  They wouldn't even have to witness the "barbarity".  

Oh well... just so everyone knows, California isn't the only place where this kind of foolishness goes on.
 

bradj

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<font face=arial size=1><blockquote><hr noshade size=1>
"Bald Head Island is an area where we're supposed to live in harmony with nature," said resident Martha Hayworth. "So before we start doing something to the deer, let's check to make sure we really need to."
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Well if they don't start lettting people harvest deer she is going to be living in harmony with the buzzards and no ecosystem at all.
 


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