published Thursday, October 6th, 2011

TWRA biologist fields commission's questions on Enterprise South Nature Park hunts

A fawn and doe wander along the southern boundary of Enterprise South Nature Park. Officials are planning to allow a regulated number of hunters access to the park during two weekends in October to hunt deer and turkey to comply with a contract the park signed with TWRA.
A fawn and doe wander along the southern boundary of Enterprise South Nature Park. Officials are planning to allow a regulated number of hunters access to the park during two weekends in October to hunt deer and turkey to comply with a contract the park signed with TWRA.
Photo by Dan Henry.


Commissioners on the Building and Economic Development Committee will consider TWRA's management of Enterprise South Nature Park at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Hamilton County Commission conference room.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency game biologist Ben Layton asked Hamilton County commissioners on Wednesday to empty their quiver of questions about two upcoming archery hunts planned for Enterprise South Nature Park.

Layton appeared in the public comment period after Wednesday's commission meeting, saying he came of his own accord after hearing from a resident group opposed to two controlled hunts scheduled for October.

Eighty hunters are expected to descend on the park Monday and Tuesday, and a County Commission committee plans to review the agreement with TWRA that allows the controlled hunts next Wednesday.

Commissioner Warren Mackey asked if the nature park, which is on 2,800 wooded acres, could "support the population without the thinning of that herd."

The land cannot support the current herd "without the deer negligently affecting that habitat," Layton replied. The predominantly wooded nature park produces less food for the deer, which previously had more open space to graze, he said.

The Enterprise South industrial park, home to Volkswagen and other businesses, is on the site of the former Volunteer Army Ammunition Plants. TWRA has been holding controlled hunts as necessary on the property since at least 1978.

At Chairman Larry Henry's request, Layton explained that the average yearling doe weight, which can reflect the deer population's health, is down to 72 pounds from 86 pounds.

Commissioner Joe Graham asked how long TWRA had been managing wildlife populations in the state.

Since the agency's inception in the 1940s, Layton said.

"We try to protect and enhance wildlife population across the state," he said.

"So it would be fine to say you all are beyond experts," Graham said.

Layton said that managing the deer population prevents complaints about the wildlife eating shrubbery in residential areas and colliding with cars on roads.


Commissioners unanimously approved spending $1.14 million to conduct an engineering study for a three-mile extension of the Riverwalk from Ross's Landing to at least South Broad Street.

Commissioner Warren Mackey supported the extension but voiced concerns about a history of cost-raising change orders by Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon, the firm contracted to complete the study.

Mayor Jim Coppinger said some of those changes came at the county's request.


Before Wednesday's full meeting, the Security and Corrections Committee met to set the hiring process for the county's magistrates, who set bail and sign warrants on nights and weekends. Applications for four positions are due Friday at 4 p.m. The committee will conduct interviews on Oct. 17, and will finalize selections at the Oct. 19 meeting.

The current magistrate contracts expire Oct. 31.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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AlisonEliz13 said...

Amazing to me that so many do not understand that by allowing overpopulation of these deer they are condemming them to a life of starvation, increased risk for disease, and also putting drivers at risk because of more deer being hit by cars and trucks. People...they have no natural predator in this grow up, see the reality of the situation, and let the hunters do their "job"...and for heaven's is only bow hunting! And those deer aren't "Bambi"...they will hurt you and hurt you badly in a close encounter, especially if you meet a buck in rut...Another example of people who do not understand that these animals are wild animals, not pets.

October 6, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Didn't I see this picture attached to a... the same story a few days ago?

Will it get thirty five comments again?

Herbivores and carnivores, have at it!... we omnivores like a good laugh.

October 6, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.
sage1 said...

Google "Deer Attacks" and you can read for yourself how these animals can be very dangerous around people and pets. Especially during the rut, or when overpopulation occurs.

Many have the Bambi syndrome. They see deer and think they are sweet lovable creatures. They are wild unpredictable animals with very sharp hooves. They can cripple or even kill for no apparent reason.

Let the TWRA manage the population. They are highly trained and they do know what they are doing.

October 6, 2011 at 3:31 p.m.
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