Metroparks has concluded the deer management program for this winter with 195 deer being taken from two parks on four nights and more than 6,000 pounds of venison donated to local food charities.
Between January 6 and February 8, 165 deer were taken from Oak Openings in three nights and 30 deer were taken from Wildwood on one night. Metroparks permit from the Ohio Division of Wildlife allowed up to 200 animals to be taken.
All of the deer were culled in an operation by marksmen from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture working with Metroparks Operations and Natural Resources staff. Work was done after park hours without disruption to park visitation using methods that were safe, humane and effective.
The Board of Park Commissioners authorized spending up to $70,000 on the operation, based on reimbursing APHIS’ costs for up to 22 nights of work, but the final cost will be only a fraction of that amount.
The deer were processed at U.S.D.A certified commercial facilities in Toledo, Wapakoneta and Pandora, and 6,240 pounds of meat was donated to Cherry Street Mission, Helping Hands of St. Louis and Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission. At the going rate of more than $10 a pound for ground venison, the donation was worth at least $62,500.
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Homeless, a non-profit organization, donated money to defray Metroparks cost of processing.