published Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Group opposes population control hunts at Enterprise South park

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.
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Deer harvested in quota hunts held in what is now Enterprise South Nature Park

2004: 29

2005: 78

2006: 56

2007: 45

2008-09: No hunts, administrative decision resulting from Volkswagen's arrival

2010: 51

Source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Some Hamilton County residents don't want to see hunter orange in their green park.

Controlled archery hunts designed to reduce deer overpopulation on 2,800 acres in what's now the Enterprise South industrial park aren't new. But the land's use as a nature park is.

Some of the park's users began voicing opposition when the county's website warned of closings on Oct. 10-11 and Oct. 24-25 for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hunts.

Opponents plan to appear today before the Hamilton County Commission at a 9:30 a.m. meeting, said Diane Dixon, a lawyer who represents what she describes as a loose coalition of about a dozen residents.

"This is just an inevitable conflict of interests between different users of the park," Dixon said. "The last time there was a hunt in there, the park wasn't even open to the public."

Hunts began on the property in 1978 after officials from the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant -- a TNT-manufacturing facility that sat on the Enterprise South land from 1942 until 1977 -- asked for help controlling deer overpopulation on its 6,000-plus acres, said Ben Layton, a game biologist for TWRA.

Now part of that acreage, formerly controlled by the U.S. Army, comprises Enterprise South while 2,800 acres remain a nature park. The county, city and TWRA entered into an agreement for TWRA to manage wildlife on the land in 2005. The nature park opened late last year.

Preservation and overpopulation

Should deer hunting be allowed at Enterprise South?
  • Yes. 68%
  • No. 32%

981 total votes.

The park should be a nature preserve, Dixon told county commissioners last week.

Signs in the nature park warn drivers to stop for wildlife, and Dixon told commissioners that those led her to infer that the county wanted to keep the wildlife from being killed.

But Layton said that keeping the park's ecosystem in balance requires managing wildlife populations. Too many deer can damage native plants and stop the regeneration of certain types of trees by eating saplings.

Layton said a major concern when the city and county entered into the agreement was deer running into the road and striking cars, Layton said.

"There were a lot of deer strikes on Hickory Valley Road," which runs through the western side of the property, he said. "Hamilton County became concerned about controlling the deer herd there."

Each two-day hunt has a maximum of 80 hunters, Layton said. Hunters may kill up to two deer, but the first kill must be a female.

"In order to get an opportunity to kill a good antlered buck, they have to kill a doe first," he said.

Hunters also are allowed one turkey.

"There is abundant turkey population down there," he said. "We had several hunters complaining that they couldn't harvest a deer because they were surrounded by turkeys."

Commission Chairman Larry Henry, a sometime hunter, sees no problem with the TWRA population controls.

  • photo
    A fawn and wanders along the southern boundary of Enterprise South Nature Park late Tuesday morning. Officials are planning on allowing 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 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"From an ecological standpoint, the population in there, it's got to be controlled," he said. "You've got an option; you can either have a hunt in there to control them or you can have them trapped and moved."

The latter option is expensive, Henry said.

Sportsmanship and aftermath

Opponents of the hunts also question the sportsmanship of killing deer inside the fenced area, Dixon told commissioners. As of Wednesday, she said conversations with TWRA had lessened her concerns.

TWRA's Layton says deer can jump the fence and that there are gaps and holes throughout it.

"If you had a fenced-in area that's like 40 acres or so, I would say there's a fair-chase issue there," Layton said.

The hunts are limited to bows and arrows, increasing the difficulty, he said.

Another of Dixon's concerns is that residents will find wounded deer and blood and entrails left from field dressing.

Layton said that's unlikely unless a hunter cannot recover the deer. And because the hunts are held early in the week, coyotes and other scavengers should take care of any remains by the time weekend parkgoers arrive, he said.

More than 90 percent of hunters eat the deer they kill or share it with someone who will, he said.

Dixon said she's been reassured after talking to county officials and TWRA.

"My clients do not have an extreme anti-hunting position or anything like that," Dixon said. "It is more offensive to the sensibilities of park users that these animals are going to be killed because they have such personal contact with them -- it seems more like a violation of the tranquillity."

Henry said he hasn't heard too much opposition to the hunts and doesn't plan to take any action on the matter in today's meeting.

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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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nucanuck said...

I live in a city the size of Chattanooga that has allowed the deer population to grow out of control and I can assure you that the problems can become acute. Aggressive deer challenge us in our own small yard and we are not allowed to take action beyond deer repellent or mesh to protect plants. My neighbor says urinating on and around plants is effective. I haven't tried it yet.

Population control is in everyone's best interest, including the deer.

September 29, 2011 at 12:36 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

I don't see enough evidence of proper safety planning in the quotes in the story above. If our only plan to reduce risk is "use a bow," then we'll get what we plan for.

September 29, 2011 at 1:41 a.m.

Why object now? There have been managed hunts here since the seventies. It's just been within the last year that the general population has been allowed on this property. I'm sure there would be some that would object to any management at all. If that's the case, I suggest that you take a drive through Moccasin Bend where they do not allow hunting. The deer are malnourished and are pitiful looking. Maybe the same people who oppose these management hunts are the same ones who would rather watch healthy animals die a slow, horrible death by starvation. The meat harvested in these hunts will help the hunters provide food for their family or maybe a less fortunate family. Why would you object to this given the current economy. If you see that has a bad thing I suggest you get off your high horse and volunteer at the community kitchen or at least make a donation. As a hunter myself I now for a fact that a few of these hunters will do actually that. Happy hunting.

September 29, 2011 at 2:10 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

It's only a matter of time before one of our local geniuses shoots some fat housewife in the hamhock by accident. The fact that the general public is in that area is cause for a significant increase in concern. It's not the deer. It's that some obese grandma pushing kids in a jogging stroller might be the next victim.

Pink sweatpants with "juicy" written across the seat and neon green shape-up sneakers won't be enough visibility when local hunters can stop by the Vee-Dubya huntin' grounds like it was a drive-thru.

Public policy bad idea.

We need more safety planning to even consider such a proposal. It could be done safely, but have we seen the right kind of work being done on that yet? We don't see it.

September 29, 2011 at 2:16 a.m.
joepulitzer said...

My favorite quote: "We had several hunters complaining that they couldn't harvest a deer because they were surrounded by turkeys."


September 29, 2011 at 5:54 a.m.
ranger1 said...

love my deer meat

September 29, 2011 at 6:34 a.m.
ranger1 said...

have you seen the deers in chickamauga park wow so small it to many of them not enough food for them all

September 29, 2011 at 6:39 a.m.
joneses said...

What a challenge these brave deer hunters face. I drove through the park yesterday and as I drove the deer would just stand there and look at me. Here is my idea. Make it a one day hunt. Get enough pickup trucks that will hold eighty hunters. Keep circling around the Nature Park shooting all the deer until none are left in site. Then all eighty hunters can place them in the back of these trucks and ride around Chattanooga exhibiting these dead deer and show all what brave and ruged men and women they are. Their egos will be satisfied and they will have something to brag about for years to come how they killed a defenseless deer. They could even get a picture of themselves holding this dead deer's head up while smilling about their great accomplishment and post this picture at The Sportsman's Warehouse so even more will witness what brave and ruged souls they actually are. They will definetly be many a fools hero's and then fools will have fools for hero's.

September 29, 2011 at 7:11 a.m.
KWVeteran said...

Really a bunch of cry-baby comments being made, I see.

September 29, 2011 at 7:29 a.m.
libover30 said...

We keep hearing those who use the same old excuse...there are to many of them?? The real truth is there are to many of us!! We have taken so much from others, their land, their food, their water and we keep on taking. When does man decide he has had enough?

Leave these deer alone. Let them live in peace and stop this stupid and uneducated excuse...there are to many of them. As for the comment that they are starving, when did you hunt one that was to skinny for you to eat? Oh and before anyone makes the stupid comment 'I bet you eat flesh' I don't eat any flesh or fish. I feel that these creatures have the right to be here and without the fear of us.

I love the comment in this article that they are being harvested?? They don't grow from the ground or trees, it makes it seem that they are just something that you grow in the ground? Strange. Or are you trying to make it seem that they are not living, breathing creatures?

Stop the killings and if we are so intelligent why not learn how to hold down the numbers of these creatures in a more humane way, and that way these people who seem to want to use the excuse there are to many of them, at least they won't be using this excuse. The real truth is they just want to kill. This is what man uses when he thinks he needs to take care of something...he just kills!

September 29, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.
WhitesCreek said...

People opposed to the hunt are well meaning and caring, but they need to consider what is best for the deer. With no predator to control their numbers as would exist in a natural world, the deer will reproduce until their numbers consume all of their food and we see a population crash from starvation. That is unless some disease wipes them out as a result of spreading too quickly through an overpopulation density. Caring people have the choice of asking for wolves and mountain lions to be reintroduced or to allow carefully controlled hunting. I think a few mountain lions running around would be fascinating.

September 29, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.

Joneses, you are a tool. You are going to starve to death when the economy collapses unless you can find a kind hunter that will give you food. BTW, your grammar sucks.

Enjoy your turn to the dark side when your stomach is rubbing your back bone and a deer walks by.

September 29, 2011 at 9:50 a.m.
nucanuck said...

libover30 certainly has defined part of the problem...the size of the human herd. Global ecological devastation makes it look as though human population may be out of balance.

September 29, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.
libover30 said... is out of balance. I have to laugh when I read flyingpurple... comment, what about all of the tortured flesh you find in your grocery store? why not eat that? because man knows only of one thing, to kill. We use all creatures for things that should make your stomachs turn, but it doesn't. What makes your stomach turn? oh yeah the idea that you would go mad if all flesh were removed from this earth, what would you eat then!

Man is taking all of the land and we make it seem as if the poor, innocent creatures are doing this. The fact remains, we are the predator of all species. It doesn't matter if it is on the ground, in the sea or air, we will kill them all.

As for joneses going to starve??? I don't eat flesh I said, and I don't eat fish, and one would say I am probably healthier than most of you here giving these comments.

I could stay here and comment forever but the fact remains, people don't want to hear because they are afraid of not being able to kill and eat flesh. It is a sad world to see such torture of any creature since they have done nothing to us. We on the other hand should be called the animal since, well we just kill and kill!

September 29, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
walther said...

Human compassion finds the image of dead or dying animals unpleasant. However, natures way is for predators to live by killing prey. In the natural way, the predator kills the weakest, either sick, old or young, and the strongest survives to pass its superior genes to future generations. Human hunters want to kill the strongest for trophy points. That's the easiest way, and Hey! maybe we can collect more hunting taxes or fees!

September 29, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

Now the Hamilton County Commission is now setting up hits on Deers, Whos gonna be the hitmen to do this deed of slaughter of deer. Whats next for the County commission doing hits on dogs cats or small farm animals. Hamilton county commission is a joke. Why would ya wanna go slaughter innocent animals at the park... Next they will be putting hits out at the local

September 29, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.

Plants are alive. What exactly do you eat Libover30?

A link for your perusal.

September 29, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
dao1980 said...

"You know what they say, if someone says something about you and it bothers you then it is probably true about you. With this in mind you might want to check your manhood or lack thereof."

Ok, so this isn't normally true... but I can't help but snicker at the fact that the poster that seems the most easily bothered by what others think would post this.

September 29, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The SPCA centers euthanize millions of animals annually.

September 29, 2011 at 11 a.m.

Joneses, careful you are telling on yourself. All of your posts have been insulting of another poster. It is all you ever post.

September 29, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.
bd828 said...

Ignorant people are the only reason this is an issue. 1) taxes collected from hunting licenses are the reason you have the deer to appreciate in the first place, 2) the fact that "inbred idiots" was used to stereotype all hunters is laughable at best, because there are plenty of scholars, academics, and all around decent human beings that see the value in the hunting and preservation of these animals. 3) this hunt is a lottery style draw hunt, where you are required to take a doe before harvesting a buck. its not a trophy hunt in any stretch of the imagination. the list could go on and on. If you were to sit and have a meaningful conversation with anyone who upholds the standards of a real "sportsman" you would quickly understand that hunting is not the practice of killing for the sake of taking a creatures life; Many hunters, practicing making ethical shots (especially for those who use archery equipment) is a standard they choose to hold themselves to because anyone who loves the sport also respects these animals enough not to leave them lying paralyzed somewhere in the woods. I honestly do not see why this is an issue in the first place, i only hope Diane Dixon would do some research before continuing with this crusade of hers. a wise man once said "At least ignorance can be reduced through education. Stupidity is permanent!" I genuinely hope peoples outlooks are based on ignorance.

September 29, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
twharr said...

No political jabs yet?? Quite odd...

September 29, 2011 at 12:13 p.m.
elkhart007 said...

The deer aren't so defenseless when you hit one and it goes through the windshield and kills you or a loved one. Let the hunts continue.

September 29, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.

Whatever happened to darwinism? Is that only good as an argument against god? Survival of the fittest just doesn't get the mileage it should when Bambi is on the barbeque.

September 29, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
dao1980 said...

mmmmmmmmm, barbecue, hey it's way past lunch time and I'm hungry!

Or how about some deer chili, that's always a good idea.

What the heck happened to Joneses???

September 29, 2011 at 2:16 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

If you are going to eat meat then you should be willing to look it in the eye and cut it's throat, dress it, cook it and eat it. Anthing less and you are a hypocrit and don't deserve to eat meat. I suspect that most in the drive thru window at Mcdonalds are hypocrits.

September 29, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
libover30 said...

you know I was actually going to reply back to your boos, but then I thought my words would be lost on a pack of boos like you all. so eat your flesh and keep on killing. It only shows just how selfish and morally wrong you all are. At some point in your sorry life you were supposed to use your brains but it looks like you just don't have one. So continue with your torture and killing, only makes what I say stronger!

September 29, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
LibDem said...

Deer overpopulation is a problem since we've altered the habitat. The planned thinning is probably as humane as possible. Wolves are a little more natural but not all that popular with the deer. It does seem that there could be more efficient (but less fun) methods than running through the woods with a bow or firestick. (Maybe little birth control clinics or sending missionaries into the woods.)

(We vegetarians don't commonly starve babies but when you leave one in the yard to graze, it can be trampled by a herd of deer.)

September 29, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.

I am still curious what you eat Libover30. You vegans have to kill to eat as well. Plants are either alive or they aren't. If you are eating plant products, you are promoting the killing of plants. Unless you are saying they aren't truly alive..

September 29, 2011 at 3:48 p.m.
bd828 said...

I love how the anti-hunting representation in these posts have done nothing but attack and name call... I guess when all the misinformation fails you have to resort to those superior vegan/liberal "brains" that we savages and meateaters all lack. I wish I was more open minded and enlightened.

September 29, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.
McRand said...

What really needs to be done is to grow food plots at Enterprise and Moccasin with nothing but the best feed for these deer. Then they would provide meat that is free of all those steroids, antibiotics and hormones that the farm raised meat is pumped up with, and is detrimental to our health. This quality meat would be a great benefit for the harvesters and for donating to those who can't afford healthy meat. Game foods are the best for our consumption.

September 29, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.
rolando said...

Global ecological devastation makes it look as though human population may be out of balance.

Well said, nucanuck.

Mother Nature keeps trying to bring it back into balance through natural killers like e. coli, AIDS, lupus, mad cow disease, swine flu, bird flu, and the rest of the new attacks she is laying on us...but we keep interfering and refuse to let the sick die off.

Someone said re-introducing mountain lions here would be an interesting idea...especially since they are the only North American big game animal that actively hunts, stalks, and kills the hunters. Wasn't that long ago that survival of such a hunt was a 50/50 toss-up. They also actively thin the "herd" by eliminating the old, the sick, and the young.

September 29, 2011 at 8:16 p.m.
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