Aiken officials give thumbs up to property owners looking to cull deer in Woodside Plantation

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Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020

(Source: Char Love)

AIKEN, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- City of Aiken officials have issued a permit to a neighborhood looking to cull deer in the area.

Woodside Plantation has received the permit that would allow deer to be culled using sharpshooters.

The culling will be done in the area from Feb. 6 to Feb. 27. from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday. The group is looking to cull about 100 deer in the area.

City officials required the group to obtain $2 million worth of liability insurance with the city named as the additional insured. They also had to gain a business license and hire "experienced" sharpshooters.

The type of rifles, according to the permit, will be "sound suppressed" with "frangible bullets."

The group also owes the city $6,250 in fees.

"Just like any other issue, we have an ordinance in place which dictates how a process can be accomplished and they are following those processes laid out in the ordinance," city manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said.

Bedenbaugh said a wildlife manager will make sure everything is safe, baiting the deer into safe shooting zones and shooting from elevated positions like vehicles and stands and using the ground as a backstop.

Meanwhile, a group of around 250 neighbors are fighting back against the proposal.

"I am truly appalled that we would jeopardize the safety of residents in this community," Debbie Hitchens said.

And many are just wondering why this is all necessary.

"It appears their biggest complaint is eating their bushes," Hitchens said.

Hitchens and her group say why not just buy different plants, improve lighting, or enforce the speed limit so there are fewer wrecks involving deer?

"I don't believe this is over yet," Hitchens said.

It may come down to legal action. The group has to act soon because the culling could start as soon as this Thursday night.

The company doing it, Lowcountry Wildlife, says their liability insurance will help.

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