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Issue of bow-hunting deer passed by voters in 6 Northeast Ohio communities

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Voters in several Northeast Ohio cities approved a controversial method of tackling the over-population of deer. The issue of bow-hunting deer was passed Tuesday in all six Cleveland suburbs that placed it on the ballot.

From causing car crashes to destroying gardens, having too many deer is a dilemma facing residents in many suburban communities.

"The deer come back and forth, they come from across the street on two sides, and they're pretty nice, but they gotta go," explained Seven Hills resident Tony Hanustak.

Hanustak says his neighborhood on Chestnut Road is overrun with deer and feels something definitely needs to be done to control them.

He is among a majority of voters in Seven Hills that voted "yes" Tuesday to amend the city's hunting ordinance. The new ordinance "permits the limited hunting of white-tailed deer by crossbow or longbow by licensed people from elevated platforms."

Similar ordinances were also passed in Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Parma, Parma Heights and Strongsville.

"The next step is to work with the city leaders up there to identify the best process to accomplish what they were voting for," said Geoff Westerfield, with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.

Westerfield says they will work with each community to iron out specifics on bow hunting regulations.

"I don't like bow-hunting," said Seven Hills resident Joan Ronsky.

Ronsky and some of her neighbors clearly showed their opposition to the ordinance. She says her husband feels other deer controlling methods, like birth control, should be explored. Joan feels bow-hunting could be risky.

"You have to be darn careful when you're hitting that deer that it goes down or if that thing bolts out, it's gonna bolt out in the street. If they want to get a sharpshooter, that they're gonna 'boom' and drop that deer, I'm all for that because they do have to be culled," Ronsky said.

"First and foremost, safety is always at the forefront and I always say the city safety officers are never gonna let anything go on that they feel would be unsafe for any of the residents," said Westerfield.

Westerfield says many cities in Cuyahoga County already allow archery hunting and they have not experienced any accidents related to the method.

It will be up to leaders in each city to come up with specific terms of the bow hunting, which will be overseen by the state, city and local police departments.