Frequently Asked Questions
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​Frequently Asked Question
​​When will the hunts occur?

The initial phase of the Deer Management Program with the Wounded Warriors Outdoors will occur Thanksgiving weekend. Eagle Creek Park will be closed to the public Friday, November 28 through Sunday, November 30. The second phase will include professional marksmen and will be scheduled at a later date. 

Will the park be closed during the cull? 

Eagle Creek Park will be closed to guests during the Wounded Warrior Outdoors process, Thanksgiving weekend. The professional marksmen will conduct work overnight and will not impact the park's operating hours. 

What will happen to the processed deer meat? 

All deer will be dressed and processed off-site. Wounded Warrior Outdoor hunters who wish to take the meat will be allowed to do so. All remaining meant from both hunts will be distributed to local food banks and shelters. 

Will the hunters use guns or bows? 

All of the deer reduction activities in 2014-2015 will use either shotguns or rifles. No archery equipment will be used in the initial phase of the Deer Management Program. 

How is the safety of the public being taken into account?

Safety is of the utmost concern. Indy Parks is coordinating with IMPD, the Indiana State Police, USDA and A&T Wildlife Management to implement a robust safety protocol. All hunting areas will be closed to the public during hunting activities. Appropriate signage will be placed for public information in collaboration with local law enforcement officials. The expert marksmen working for USDA and A&T Wildlife Management will be shooting down from elevated positions to ensure safety and precision. Both USDA and A&T Wildlife Management have significant experience working in suburban areas and are familiar with and have tailored their safety protocols to accommodate areas as populated as the area near Eagle Creek Park. 

How can I participate in this year's hunt? 

The deer reduction activities planned for 2014-2015 do not include an open hunt. The City is opting to hold two managed hunts in 2014-2015 because this method is considered to be the most suited to reduce Eagle Creek's severe overabundance of deer efficiently and cost effectively. However, this is only year one of a long-term program. As the deer population is reduced over time, open hunts are an option that the City can consider to use as a population management method. 

I am a disabled veteran. How can I participate in the Wounded Warriors Outdoors program? 

The Wounded Warriors Outdoors program works with servicemen and women who have become disabled while on active military duty on or after October 2001. For information on participating in the hunt or serving as a volunteer contact A&T Wildlife Management Services at atwildlife@att.net. 

Why are local hunters not being employed to carry out the deer reduction? 

The deer reduction at Eagle Creek is taking place under a special use permit issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and is not a recreational hunting activity. The permit regulations provide for a strategic and systematic culling operation based on the science of animal behavior and the use of highly skilled sharp shooters. The knowledge of animal behavior and the discipline and skills in marksmanship are more advanced and strategic than those necessary to be a successful recreational deer hunter. It is necessary for the City to engage an experienced and professional agent with an outstanding safety record and a proven track record of success for reasons of public safety and for the overall success of the project. 

How can you say there's an overpopulation without knowing how many deer live in Eagle Creek Park? 

Wildlife biologist weigh the impact of the deer on the ecosystem more than simply the number of deer when determining whether overpopulation exists. The IDNR does not engage in a deer census nor does the City of Indianapolis. Instead of looking at the number of deer per square mile only, modern deer management looks at the trends and the effects of the deer overabundance, such as deer health, ecosystem health and deer-human conflicts. While there are options for quantification such as aerial counts, thermal infrared photography, drive and pellet counts and spotlight techniques, these techniques are variously expensive, labor-intensive and according to the IDNR, unnecessary.  

Why can't you use birth control or contraception? 

Currently there are only two forms of contraception that are available for white-tailed deer: GonaCon™ and PZP. Neither of the two has been endorsed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for use in free-ranging deer herds. To be effective, anywhere from 70-90% of the does in a subject population need to dosed with contraceptive and the EPA (Environmental Prote​ction Agency) requires that that GonaCon™ be hand-administered and each deer tagged. This would require capture. Because this technique is not endorsed by the IDNR, is costly ($600-800/deer), requires that the deer population be closed and its biochemical effects are not known, the City has determined it is not a viable option at this time. ​Click Here​ for information on the INDNR's recommended deer management practices. 

Why can't you just ship the deer somewhere else? 

Deer population management is not a unique problem in Indiana or even the country. The IDNR does not endorse trap and translocation for multiple reasons. Studies show that a significant number of deer die during t​ransport and an even larger number die within the first two months relocation. Relocation efforts are further complicated by lack of sustainable release sites. Most habitats within the species' native range are already saturated with deer and cannot withstand supplemental stocking without risking damage to the habitats. There is also high risk of disease transmission. cost for deer relocation is estimated at $400/deer. 

Why hasn't there been a public hearing; it seems like the hunt has already been decided upon without input from the public?

The City has been tackling the issue of deer overabundance In Eagle Creek Park for almost 20 years. The City has commissioned multiple studies and consulted with multiple experts to determine the best course of action to reverse the severe ecological damage to the park caused by the overabundance of deer. Following three presentations and opportunities for public comment, the City's Board of Parks and Recreation voted unanimously to allow the Director of Parks to contract with wildlife management experts to implement a long-term plan to address the overabundance of deer in the park. The City understands this is a sensitive subject. The city's plan was presented and public comment accepted at meetings on September 11, 24 and 25, 2014. 

How many deer will be removed from the population with this hunt? 

The special permit from the IDNR allows for up 350 deer to be culled from the park this year. However, the City does not expect to remove 350 deer from the park in one year. It is important to keep in mind that reducing the overabundance of deer is a goal that will be achieved through a long term management plan, not just one year. 

Will the cull fix the problem or will Eagle Creek have to be hunted every year? 

Deer management is long term program. This is the first phase of a long term program. Once the population is at a more manageable level experts can discuss other possible deer management methods for the future.