Mating season this fall means more active deer and greater risk of auto accidents. File Photo

At Issue: How should ever-increasing deer population be controlled?

The Atlanta metro deer population is prolific, fearless and amorous this time of year. As metro Atlanta grows, the deer population finds itself with a shrinking habitat. Cute as they may be, the white-tailed deer presents more than a few challenges for homeowners and drivers – especially now that deer are actively mating.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, “during the rut (mating season), the desire to breed causes deer to become more active compared to the rest of the year. Bucks move more and become less secretive, making them easier to hunt and more susceptible to being hit by motor vehicles.” [Link: http://georgiawildlife.com/rut-map]

According to State Farm between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 Georgia drivers had a 1 in 122 likelihood of having an auto collision with a deer. Your chances more than double in October, November and December as daylight driving hours decrease and the deer get frisky.

Few natural predators remain in metro suburbs. Foxes present a slight risk to fawns, leaving coyotes as the only major threat to adult deer and a growing concern for families with small pets.

With so few risks, most homeowners have noticed deer coming closer to homes — and their edible landscaping.

Deer hunting is allowed in much of Georgia, but state law prohibits the discharge of a firearm within 50 yards of any public street, road, highway, or on any land without the owner’s consent. This virtually guarantees no one can legally shoot a deer in a metro neighborhood. In addition, cities like Berkeley Lake and Lilburn also prohibit bow hunting.

Enjoying undisturbed nature is why many move outside the perimeter for the wooded neighborhoods where these animals make their home. Watching a doe raise her fawn can be a unique opportunity to observe nature from your backyard deck.

What do you think?

How should the ever-increasing deer population be controlled? Are auto accidents and ruined landscaping part of the price you pay to live further out? Will the deer population naturally move away as their habitats continue to shrink?

Send comments to communitynews@ajc.com. Responses may be edited for length and/or clarity and may be published in print and/or digital platforms.

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