Iowa City council members feel 'trapped' with potential deer management plan

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Experts say the deer population is at a 20-year high, but the city council is hesitant about going ahead with the city manager's recommended proposal.

The city council described the deer as a problem clearly affecting the quality of human life; what concerns some of those council members is the potential requirement to host an urban deer hunt.

In a memo to city government, City Manager Geoff Fruin said he believes the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Natural Resource Commission "will approve professionally contracted sharp shooting for one year." The sharp shooting would potentially be approved if the city agreed to an urban hunt, likely a bow hunt, for the following four years.

Council members like Susan Mims said the majority of people she has spoken with do not want a bow hunt in the city.

"I don't like the idea of not doing a sharp shoot," Mims said. "Because the population is just incredibly large... I will not support a commitment to public hunting."

Council member Rockne Cole described his frustration to not hire as an "outrage."

"We're letting essentially a lobby affect our ability to do that for sport hunting," Cole said. "I'm outraged that we don't have this tool and that we're essentially in a position where we have a situation where we cannot address a peril that affects our residents."

Mayor Jim Throgmorton was also concerned when speaking during the council's formal session.

"We're being told we can't do what we want to do, and we have to do what the overwhelming majority does not want us to do," said Mayor Throgmorton. "So there's a problem."

Council members want to re-discuss a potential plan moving forward at their next council meeting.

Sharp shooting was used annually from 1999 to 2010, with the exception of one year in 2002-2003.