published Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Deer hunters, protectors square off over hunts at Enterprise South Nature Park


by Andrew Pantazi
A fawn and doe wander along the southern boundary of Enterprise South Nature Park. Officials are planning to allow a regulated number of hunters access to the park during two weekends in October to hunt deer and turkey to comply with a contract the park signed with TWRA.
A fawn and doe wander along the southern boundary of Enterprise South Nature Park. Officials are planning to allow a regulated number of hunters access to the park during two weekends in October to hunt deer and turkey to comply with a contract the park signed with TWRA.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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Poll
Should deer hunting be allowed at Enterprise South?
  • Yes. 68%
  • No. 32%

981 total votes.

Prepared for confrontation, the sides split.

To the left, the hunters. Men who shared a common passion.

To the right, the protectors. Women who wanted to protect wildlife.

The sides gathered Wednesday at the Hamilton County Commission conference room after local lawyer Diane Dixon asked the Building and Economic Development Committee to listen to both sides of the argument about the deer hunts at Enterprise South Nature Park.

On Monday and Tuesday, and again Oct. 24-25, 80 hunters are allowed to hunt deer with bows and arrows. They can bag up to two deer, as long as the first deer is a doe. Hunters also may kill one turkey.

Dixon, who opposes the hunts and said there are more humane ways to control deer populations, said one option is bringing in sharpshooters from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to cull the deer.

"We perceive that as more humane than these archery hunts," she said.

After her, Committee Chairman Greg Beck asked for one of the men on the left to give his side.

Gerald Peterson, who moved to the Chattanooga area from Wisconsin in 2003, said sharpshooters would cost money.

"Whereas," he said, "if you let hunters take care of it, they pay you."

For 45 minutes, a hunter would speak, then a protector.

Joan Farrell, pounding her hand on the lectern, said the commission should divorce itself from TWRA, which, she later said, is in bed with the hunters. She said she wanted exact numbers of how many deer are in the park and doesn't believe there is an overpopulation problem.

Bill Swan, president of the Chattanooga chapter of Safari Club International, said he's been a TWRA sharpshooter and that sharpshooters just go in and do a lot of killing.

"I'm not a killer," he said. "I am a hunter. I take the [meat], and I utilize it."

Connie Smith wanted to find a way to move the deer somewhere else instead of killing them.

"We just enjoy the park," she said, "and we enjoy the deer. We hate to see the deer killed."

In the end, committee members Jim Fields and Beck said they think TWRA has done a fine job but, Beck said, the issue needs monitoring. He proposed that the commission revisit the issue each year.

"I looked at the TWRA website and there are so many places to hunt," Dixon said after the meeting. "All we're saying is, why here?"

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about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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Gator said...

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard of. If the "tree huggers" don't want to "see the deer killed", then stay out of the park during the hunt. Problem solved. Oh, and there will be PLENTY left after the hunt for them to "enjoy".

October 13, 2011 at 8:42 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Groups of irrational women chasing hunters around making shrill un-purposeful women sounds.

Kinda reminds me of PETA, ya know, the folks that wish to "make a difference" with little or no conception of what a difference actually is... hilarious.

If these women really wanted to protect wildlife they would study the factors involved in herd management and spend personal time participating in such.

But that would require rational intellect, and these particular estrogenites seem limited only to their blind emotional capacities.

October 13, 2011 at 9:43 a.m.
Tithulta said...

Just look at how many deer have been hit by cars along hwy 58 for many years. I've only been on the site once and I saw 3 deer. To me, the fact I saw 3 deer on single loop around the park tells me they are population dense. Planning to go ride the mountain bike trails Sat. I've ridden on alot of the single track around here and I've seen exactly 1 bear and maybe a dozen or so deer over the last 15 years. You can sneak up on deer while riding single track.

October 13, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.

Why is it so important to hunt in Enterprise South? Are you hunters that lazy that you have to drive from Ooltewah down to Enterprise South. I've been hunting on several occassions if i had to hunt anywhere around here i would not hunt. How boring. Perhaps we could start walking into Wal-mart and open up on the meat section. lol!

October 13, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I agree with Illusion. I'm beginning to wonder what in the hell is wrong with Tennessee and its fascination with guns and shooting stuff. Dudes, shooting a gun DOES NOT make you manly.

I guess the 95% of the taxpayers who don't agree with hunting in an area where people take their children and try to relax can just go f$%@ themselves, right, Hamilton County Commission?

October 13, 2011 at 11:01 p.m.
ahannityclone said...

Illusion and Savarti, I completely understand that you do not have all of the information you need to form an argument that is based on factual data--it is no fault of your own, you just don't have any reason to understand the reason why the TWRA wants hunters to hunt within a set of guidelines, instead you choose an "emotion" based argument that is scientifically flawed like Ms. Dixon's "emotion" based argument. Hunting is as much of a tradition in families that goes back generations, as it is the most effective tool in managing a particular species. The deer at Enterprise have had their habitat altered and taken away due to the arrival of VW, because of that the deer have become compressed in a smaller location (wonder where all of you that are so "concerned" with the deer's well-being at then when they lost a considerable portion of habitat?). Because of this, there is only so much viable food for the entire herd. The proof is in the stats. Data gained from this past hunt has shown the average weight is down over the prior year which only means one thing--declining herd health. Is it to the point of failure? Not yet, that is the reason for the hunt to maintain and/or improve the health of the herd. What causes a weight decline? Sickness/disease and lack of food--and the two are very directly correlated as lack of food causes the first. You do not need to get an exact "head count" as many are calling for, because frankly you will never be able to see every herd member. Biologists use field obtained data such as age, sex, weight, stomach contents and other measurements to very accurately describe what is going on within the herd. To call an end to hunting because of reasons that cannot be backed up biologically is extremely irresponsible on anyone's part--especially when it is in an effort to "protect" the health and survivability of the herd! If you have ever witnessed a deer herd that struggles to survive because of limitations to its enviroment, mainly food, it would break your heart and I promise you would change your mind--as would any logical and sympathetic individual! As far as the other comments, hunting in any form (with a weapon,or a camera for census purposes) is much more difficult than 99% would believe, and if you Illusion have in fact hunted before then you wouldn't be making such claims. Also, what right does any one group have to lay 100% claim to any piece of public, taxpayer property Savarti? How would you feel if 95% of taxpayers believed it should be an exclusive hunting preserve and you could only use it as a Nature Park for four days a year, on days that studies have shown are the slowest traffic days? Kind of a ridiculous, selfish and elitiest claim to land that everyone owns isn't it? By the way, shooting a gun doesn't not make anyone "manly"--it never has and never will--and no gun owner will ever make that claim. Educating yourself and being a productive role-model to society and your family is what makes a man!

October 14, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
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