Neighbors seek to block Enterprise South deer, turkey hunts
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Be quiet. Be still long enough, and your camera-phone can capture one of the more breathtaking natives of Enterprise South Industrial Park, mere yards from the outer gravel road that rings the 2800 acres of nature park within it.
Joan Farrell calls that too close, to dodge too many arrows. "Eighty hunters on this small an acreage will be running into each other," Farrell tells Hamilton County Commissioners.
"With all their gear and ATV's. An observer of December's hunt calls it chaotic!"
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has granted 160 permits, 80 for each of the two-day hunts scheduled for October 10-11 and 24-25, according to spokesman Ben Layton. Each hunter will be allowed to take two deer, but the first must be a doe. They also may take one wild turkey.
"In past years, they've made only a quarter to half of the quota," Layton says. "If they take 100 doe, we'll get what we tried to accomplish."
The issue, Farrell says, and Layton admits; nobody knows how many deer call Enterprise South home.
"Before any future hunt, TWRA should be required to provide the county with an accurate verifiable head count and accurate optimal head count," Farrell says.
"This hunt has been going on for a number of years,"Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says. "There is an agreement in place."
The contract has been in place since 2005.
"We would like a committee of commissioners to revise the terms of the contract," attorney Diane Dixon tells County Commission. "We have a new group of stakeholders who would like a say."
Commissioners have agreed that a committee will meet with Dixon and Farrell's group. It's not clear whether Commissioners have the power to stop the hunts.
Nevertheless, Farrell is willing to risk her job for the fight. She's the Nature Center's receptionist.
"It's really a moral obligation," she says. "To my good conscience, and to the deer."