Ten Mentor residents attended the City Council meeting Tuesday evening to talk about the city's deer population management program, which has included culling and the legalization of bow hunting.
Seven were in favor of the program. Three were against it. All spoke passionately.
Earl Lauridsen lives near Black Brook Golf Course, one of the places where sharpshooters from Mentor Police Department have culled deer.
"I would have to congratulate the program," he said. "It's working in my neighborhod. Some of my plants haven't been desecrated yet this year."
Meanwhile, Barbara Welker said she was opposed to both deer hunting and culling.
"I think City Council members who voted for the deer-kill program should spend a day with the bow-and-arrow hunters and see exactly what brutal and inhumane work they do," she said.
Ron Parks -- a Mentor resident who previously showed a gnawed stem to Mentor City Council to demonstrate what deer had done to his yard -- said he had allowed bow hunting on his property and was proud of it.
"They used my property," he said. "I fed six families with (deer) meat."
Dave Passerallo is a Mentor resident and deer hunter. He said sharing the deer meat helped him get closer to his neighbors.
"I've met neighbors on all sides of the property I've never met before."
Meanwhile, Beth Weidig said deer culling and hunting have hurt the biodiversity in her neighborhood.
"Our woods used to be full of life -- squirrels, geese, hawks, chipmunks and, most of all, deer. We have even had red fox and coyote dens in our yards in the past. Our woods are now cold and not full of libe because of the action the city has taken," she said.
Conversely, Timothy Lining said it was the deer who were hurting biodiversity by eating all of the indigenous plant life.
"I want to say how happy I am that the city has decided to listen to reason and biological sience regarding the matter, as opposed to just emotion from those who are overly attached to the dear," Lining said.
David Bower said he was not against the deer, but he did support managing the herd's population.
"I'm for the deer but we can't have a bunch of it," he said. "And what do we sacrifice? We sacrifice nature."
Arlene Adamic said she did not support bow hunting, calling it "a blood sport." She also questioned why Council made it illegal to feed deer.
"If a neighbor wants to feed deer, that's between them and God," she said.
Alternately, Theresa Simon said -- because of the size of the deer herd -- it was cruel not to cull deer until the herd was a healthier size.
"The deer have overpopulated to the point where you can't plant a flower or plant a tree," she said. "I think it's irresponsible not to cull. I think it's selfish and even cruel."
The city recently concluded its first ever bow hunting season Saturday and 128 deer were killed by hunters -- 90 does and 38 bucks.
Thus far, the city has culled 197 deer -- 185 does and 12 bucks. It has permission from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to cull a total of 213 deer.
City Manager Kenneth Filipiak said he expects the city to reach that total by the end of the week.
Culling and bow hunting are just two parts 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.)