Cleveland Metroparks spokeswoman M. Jane Christyson tells Channel 3 Thursday that the Metroparks has an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife permit to remove a total of 588 deer this season.
The Reservations where the culling is being done include: Mill Stream Run, Brecksville, South Chagrin, North Chagrin, Rocky River, Bedford, Bradley Woods and Hinckley.
Signs are posted at the entrances to the parks on the days that culling will be done that evening. In the beginning, the signs went up with closings beginning at 3 p.m. and going through the overnight hours.
Christyson said that, two years ago, the closings started at noon. She said that allows more daylight hours for parks to be cleared of visitors and for those doing the culling to do their preparations in the daylight.
In 2010, the Metroparks culled 343 deer. In 2009, they culled 160 deer.
Here's how the culling works.
Sharp-shooting is used to reduce deer populations. Experienced and trained teams of Cleveland Metroparks employees implement the annual program. All personnel directly involved are law enforcement employees (Rangers) who have been tested for firearm proficiency.
Rangers are stationed at the entrances of each reservation at the time management activities are being conducted to insure the safety of park visitors. The majority of the effort is concentrated during the time period when deer are most active -- near dawn and dusk.
All shots are taken from elevated platforms, either truck-mounted or tree stands to ensure safety. Deer are taken in areas of known concentrations and/or in areas that have been baited previously.
Most culling areas are open grass areas, road berms, managed meadows and early successional old fields to allow for open shots. This insures the humane and safe culling of deer.
Additional Cleveland Metroparks staff assists with field dressing, transporting meat to the processor and servicing equipment. All animals are field-dressed the same night and delivered to the processor the next day.
Based on pre-arranged schedules, processed meat is donated to hunger centers, including the Cleveland Foodbank. Since the program began, more than 60,000 pounds of meat has been donated to feed the hungry.