The Arkansas Times does its best to answer questions from readers. Here’s the latest:
Please provide coverage of the culling of the deer located on the property of the University of Arkansas System in Cammack. Citizen emails to UA President Donald Bobbitt are not being answered as to how specifically these deer had become “hazardous to the operations of the campus, to the upkeep of the grounds, and to the health and safety of employees and visitors,” as spokesman Nate Hinkel has informed those who’ve asked. So many of us in the neighborhood are tremendously shocked and hurt by the behind-closed-doors decision. Deer have peacefully coexisted on this 40-acre property for over 30 years. … What has suddenly changed? My young boys have been admiring this bit of urban wildlife for years, and we keep finding ourselves looking for the deer as we walk/drive by despite knowing they are now gone.
Deer have indeed made their home for decades in the Cammack woods, the 40 acres of once undeveloped property on North University donated to the university system by the Cammack family in 1957. However, last year the system, which did not build on the property until 1995, decided the deer had become a nuisance, eating up the flowerbeds and defecating on the sidewalks by the president’s home, spokesman Hinkel told the Times. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was first asked to get rid of the deer last year, when it harvested four of six deer on campus. This year, six more were killed, both does and bucks. Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens said the deer were easily darted: “They are so habituated to people they don’t run.” Game and Fish does not relocate deer; Stephens said those used to living within the confines of the Cammack campus would not make it in the wild, though apparently some of the population comes from the wild when the gates are open. Hinkel said Game and Fish wildlife officers told him “three deer can become 35 in five or six years.” However, Hinkel doesn’t know exactly how the deer get in: “With the gate opening and closing, we don’t know if they’re stuck in here or coming over the fence.” So perhaps more deer will bound in and give the neighborhood children the opportunity to see wildlife in an urban setting again.