Residents have started a petition to collect signatures from residents of the Fayetteville, Ga. community and others in Fayette County to stop the “eradication” of deer, after the property’s HOA approved a plan to follow the recommendation of Georgia Wildlife Services experts and bring in professionals for a bait-and-shoot approach to population management.
A decision to have a number of deer killed and removed from the property by the Board of Directors of the homeowners’ association of Whitewater Creek Country Club (WWC) in Fayetteville, Ga. has generated opposition by some residents and by others living in other areas of Fayette County, Ga., The Citizen of Fayetteville reported.
A petition objecting to the move, with signatures from Whitewater Creek residents and those from other locations in Fayette County, has been posted on the change.org website, The Citizen reported. The petition, entitled “Stop the Whitewater Creek HOA board from ‘eradicating’ the deer,” objects to plans to baiting and shooting deer on the HOA property.
“This group opposes the use of lethal means to ‘manage’ White Water Creek’s deer population; believes the ban on discharging firearms within Fayette County subdivisions should be upheld; and believes the best way to regulate deer numbers is to let nature do the job unless the Board can prove, under common law legal standards, there is a substantial likelihood the presence of the deer will endanger or cause injury to persons,” the petition said.
The full content of the petition can be viewed at:
The HOA board subsequently issued a lengthy letter to all Whitewater homeowners explaining the rationale for the decision, The Citizen reported.
When asked about the issue by The Citizen, HOA President Scott Fabricius provided a copy of the e-mail sent to Whitewater Creek homeowners, noting that many of those residents did not attend the recent town hall meeting where the topic was decided.
“For many months the Board has been inundated with numerous complaints about safety and health concerns arising from the ever-increasing deer population within our community,” the e-mail said. “This increase is the result of lack of predation and the fact that these deer generally produce multiple offspring each year. In addition, they are attracted to golf course communities like WWC.”
The e-mail also said that several homeowners have contacted the HOA Board to advise that there is significant misinformation being spread throughout our community about the Board’s decision to follow the deer management plan recommended by the experts at the Georgia Wildlife Services Program, The Citizen reported.
“While Whitewater Creek does not conduct its business on such social-media sites as Nextdoor, the Board wanted to provide the facts to our residents who might not have attended the town hall meeting held a couple of weeks ago,” the e-mail said.
“Deer-vehicle collisions are a major concern, and we have received several reports of near-misses. It is not unusual to see deer standing or running on our streets,” the e-mail continued. “One person has suggested that if everyone drives at 15 mph that we can probably avoid such accidents. We can’t even get people to comply with our posted 25 mph speed limit.”
The e-mail also cited concerns about the introduction of disease-generating ticks present on deer and the susceptibility of deer overpopulation to malnutrition and poor overall health, The Citizen reported.
“Many residents have complained that dwindling food resources has led to several deer searching for food on their patios,” the e-mail said, adding that over-browsing by deer can lead to the reduction of other wildlife species and result in low species diversity.
“While deer hunting is legal in Georgia, and local hunters had volunteered to assist in population control, the Board wanted to explore all options before deciding on the correct management plan,” the e-mail said. “The Board met with the experts from the Georgia Wildlife Services Program who work under the United States Department of Agriculture. They have visited our community on more than one occasion and explained the various options.”
Outlining the options for controlling the population, the Board said installing a 10-foot fence would not resolve the issue for several reasons, The Citizen reported. Nor would the “trap and transfer” method, because it is not legal in Georgia.
“The Georgia Wildlife Services Program determined that the best option for WWC was population management. However, because of the residential nature of our community, they did not recommend regulated hunting or managed hunts,” the Board said in its e-mail. “Instead, they recommended professional deer removal conducted by the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services under a depredation permit.
“This was the most effective option utilized by golf course communities throughout our state,” the e-mail said. “Wildlife Services is permitted to use specialized equipment and methods such as high-powered rifles fitted with noise suppressors; infrared and night-vision technologies for identification of safe shooting opportunities and to increase the ability to locate deer; and other methods. It should also be noted that deer harvested by Wildlife Services provides venison for charitable donation and biological data that assesses overall deer herd health.”
The e-mail stated the expectation that some residents will disagree with the board’s decision, The Citizen reported. To that end, the e-mail said, “Please be advised that no one is required to allow Wildlife Services onto their property. The professionals from Wildlife Services will only utilize those properties where the homeowner has provided a signed authorization.”