Deer task force opens archery hunt to any Indiana resident

Warsaw’s Deer Task Force is doing something this year it hasn’t done in awhile – opening up the archery deer hunt to any person interested in participating.

“The big thing this year will be we’re going to open it up for the first time in several years to any Indiana resident that is interested in qualifying for our program,” City Councilman Jeff Grose said Monday at the council meeting, noting that only veterans of the program have been able to participate for recent years. “We believe it might be in our best interest to open it up because we’ve got a lot of interested parties and we’ll see what happens with training.”

This year’s training sessions will be 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 and 16 at the Warsaw Police station.

Interested archers may apply to participate in the deer reduction effort and complete the mandatory training.

Last year, Grose said they had 35 archers. By opening the program up to new hunters, he said they hope to add to their number, but the archers will have to qualify.

In 2016, Grose said archers took 27 deer, which was lower than their average of 30 to 50 deer.

More information, forms and applications for any interested archers or landowners can be obtained on the city’s website at Warsaw.IN.Gov. The Task Force link is located within the police department webpage. Those interested in the program also will find the following updated links: DTF archer application form for 2017; private landowner information and application; training dates, times and tentative agendas; and a memo to interested archers wanting to participate in the program for 2017.

According to information provided by Grose, the Task Force will evaluate the impact the change in policy has on the program after this year’s efforts.

Grose told city council Monday that the Task Force will present its official proposal to the council in late September or early October. The council has to approve a resolution and ordinance on the deer reduction efforts annually.

The program’s archers have several public properties to take deer, with the area around Kosciusko Community Hospital being the largest. There’s also 25 private areas where landowners work with the archers so they can go onto that land and hunt.

In the last dozen years or so of the program, Grose estimated they’ve taken 500 deer. While it’s never enough, every deer that is taken is one less to destroy property or cause a vehicle accident, he said. Taking doe not only eliminates one more deer, but also any fawns they may give birth to.

Over the past couple of years, Grose said they’ve received complaints about deer in the Rolling Hills and Springhill subdivisions. “We hope to get enough landowners to cooperate so we can get archers in there,” Grose said.

“We’ll never get rid of all the deer, and we don’t want to do that,” Grose said, but the reduction efforts promote the natural process.

The reduction program began about a dozen years ago.

In the first year of the program, deer would come up to the hunters thinking they had food, which isn’t natural, he said. Through the reduction program, he said deer are becoming more weary of hunters.

“It’s been a really successful program over the years,” he said.

Grose is the longtime chairman of the Deer Task Force. The management team also includes Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker, Matt Dick, John Cook, Nate Howett and Todd Braddock. Warsaw police officer Brian Sherwin also provides assistance, Grose said.