The city of Mentor received permission from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to begin culling deer Friday.
And the city -- using Mentor police officers as sharpshooters -- may begin culling as soon as Tuesday in Morton Park, Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak said.
The city has permission to cull 150 deer between now and March 31. It intends to focus its efforts on five specific properties within Mentor: Morton Park, Mentor Lagoons, Veterans Park, Black Brook Golf Course and the city-owned property around City Hall.
Filipiak said the city has been awaiting approval from ODNR and is ready to begin culling the deer population in Mentor.
"We have been ready to go for quite some time," he said.
Filipiak added that city could receive permission to cull more than 150 deer between now and March 31, depending on how successful the program is.
"If we find we're having success and think we need additional tags (for the culled deer,) we can come back to the agency one more time during this period," Filipiak said.
The city will take several steps to make sure the culling process is safe for the people of Mentor, Filipiak said.
First, the property where the culling is to occur will be closed off during the culling. Mentor police will cordon the entry points.
Then, the area will be searched by police and park employees to make sure nobody has inadvertently sneaked in.
Furthermore, the city will notify property owners who live directly next to the property 48 hours before the culling is to happen. That way, they will know not to access the culling area from their own property, Filipiak said.
Culling is just one part of the city's plan to manage the deer population in Mentor.
The program has five parts: educate the public on the dangers of deer overpopulation; get an accurate count of of the deer population in Mentor and its distribution; start a traffic-safety program that focuses on avoiding crashes with deer; legalize regulated hunting; and use sharpshooters from Mentor Police Department to cull deer herds.
Mentor City Council voted to legalize bow hunting last year (by a 5-2 margin) and, this hunting season, hunters have killed more than 100 deer in the city.
Filipiak previously said the deer management program will cost the city about $100,000 this year.
By using existing staff, the city of Mentor has tried to limit the program's cost, Filipiak said.
About $50,000 goes to pay the salaries of three part-time natural resource specialists in the Mentor Parks and Recreation Department who oversee the entire program.
Meanwhile, Filipiak expects the city to expend another $25,000 on equipment and overtime for police involved in the sharpshooting part of the plan.
Filipiak added that most deer culling would be done during regular hours but, sometimes, overtime might be necessary.
The final $25,000 would go to the cost of processing the culled deer.
Filipiak has repeatedly said the program is a long-term commitment and, if the city stopped trying to manage the deer population, the deer's numbers would quickly rebound.