July 31, 2007
San Jose retirement community abandons plan to hunt deer
Two governing boards of the Villages adult community in South San Jose have decided to pursue non-lethal, long-range solutions to their deer problem.
Villages officials have received hundreds of angry phone calls from residents and non-residents after the Mercury News publicized management's plan to have hunters kill eight deer with bows and arrows.
The uproar increased when the Mercury News reported Saturday that the coordinator for the deer program for California Department of Fish and Game said shooting a few deer to scare the herd farther into the hills - and away from people's yards - would be effective for only a few days or a few weeks at most.
Residents of the 4,300-member community nestled in the southeast foothills attended two meetings today. The largest meeting was in the afternoon when about 60 people showed up for a board of directors meeting of the Villages Golf and Country Club.
Michael Kulakofsky, one of the directors, started the meeting by saying the Villages have contracted with a local group experienced in dealing with wildlife problems. He said the Little Blue Society - a non-profit that tries to find ways humans and wildlife can co-exist - will conduct a survey of the 1,000-acre property Wednesday.
The group is expected to produce a long-range plan and "hopefully it will be a long-range plan that everyone will be happy with," Kulakofsky said. "We think we're moving in the right direction."
Before Kulakofsky spoke, a majority of the speakers had been expected to give fiery denunciations of the deer hunting plan. Only eight people spoke, with the majority of them saying they were opposed to killing deer with bows and arrows.
One resident, however, said killing eight deer is not enough, that 50 should be killed and to follow-up, 20 a year should be killed.
Several residents said they questioned the $10,000 a month amount in landscape damages that Villages management said the deer are causing.
June Hayes stepped to the microphone and asked one thing: why wasn't there the outcry when boar were killed on the Villages property with bows and arrows four or five years ago.