Skip to comments.Cotton farmer shoots 40 deer
Posted on 07/28/2007 5:04:07 PM PDT by Sybeck1
Whispers started with the first few gunshots.
Neighborhood rumors had it that a cotton farmer who leases land from the Chickasaw Basin Authority near the Wolf River was shooting deer on the property.
So when residents discovered nearly 40 of the animals had been killed and left to rot in the surrounding woods, they reacted with horror.
"I don't like to see (deer) slaughtered, and that's what happened down there in these cotton fields," said Brenda Flanagan, a nearby resident. "To me it's inhumane. ... What's gone is gone, and I would hate to see that ever happen again."
Angry neighbors also cited safety concerns.
"Our first concern was the brutality of killing those animals," said Arthur Wolff, who owns property on Bethany Road, a shady street that dead ends into the sprawling cotton farm. "Then there was the safety issue of shooting deer so close to people's homes."
Wolff, along with other angry residents, called officials from the Chickasaw Basin Authority (CBA), a state agency dealing with flood-control and drainage in a three-county area. The CBA owns a 600-acre patch of land near Collierville's annexation reserve in unincorporated Shelby County.
It turns out the farmer had been given permission by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to kill deer that were destroying his crops.
But as a result of the community's response, CBA's chairman, Charles Perkins, said they became aware of the safety issues and pulled the permit until further notice.
"We just thought it was a health concern and a safety concern because of the populated area being so close in proximity," Perkins said. "We put a stop to it."
Farmer David Ciarloni, who leases the 200 acres, is not happy about the decision, but he's going to wait to see what can be negotiated with the CBA.
He said the deer population has escalated in recent years, wreaking havoc on his cotton crop.
"It's not going to stop, and it will make this farm impossible to farm in the future," he said.
Although Ciarloni won't know the extent of damage until harvest time, he's estimated 30 percent to 50 percent crop damage. "It's an astronomical increase from last year."
Ciarloni grew frustrated with the deer problem a few months ago and contacted his landlord, the CBA, for a permit to kill the deer.
Ted Fox, the county's public works director who doubles as the CBA's executive director, said he sent a county employee out to examine the damage.
The employee corroborated Ciarloni's story -- that deer had eaten away at about 30 percent of the crop. Fox contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which issues hunting permits.
Gary Cook, TWRA's regional manager in West Tennessee, said state legislation allows farmers to receive hunting permits if they can prove significant crop loss. Called a "depredation permit," this license allows farmers to kill wildlife such as birds or deer that are causing damage to public or private property.
"It happens all over Tennessee on a regular basis," Cook said. "This is not something rare or unusual."
Each year, TWRA issues anywhere from about three to 10 permits to landowners in Shelby County. Last year, it issued 11.
A permit was issued to the CBA after TWRA officers sent to Ciarloni's farm noted significant crop loss and 81 deer.
Ronnie Shannon of TWRA said that contrary to popular belief, deer have been known to eat newer strains of cotton, called "Roundup Ready" cotton that has a salty taste. And because there's limited hunting in the county, the deer population has grown in recent years.
TWRA officials relayed this information to the CBA board, which voted unanimously to thin the herd during a two-week period.
Perkins, CBA's chairman, said the TWRA warden showed up to the meeting in uniform and with his rifle, leading him to assume that the officer -- not Ciarloni -- would be handling the problem.
"We thought the TWRA was going to handle the eradication," Perkins said. "We thought they were going to be onsite to supervise or do it themselves."
He was surprised to discover Ciarloni had taken a shotgun and killed the animals himself.
Perkins also discovered their bodies had been dragged off the cotton fields and into nearby wooded areas to rot.
"That concerned us because of the scavengers, the possibility of the coyotes moving into that area, the buzzards and the smell," Perkins said. "It was a general health concern."
Fox called Ciarloni and put a hold on the permit. The CBA held a meeting Tuesday to discuss the issue.
During that session, the CBA heard testimony from Wolff and other concerned residents, who complained of safety and health risks for the surrounding residents.
Perkins said the license will be pulled until further notice, but something will have to be done eventually to deal with the deer population.
And of the system chosen to hunt the deer, he said residents probably won't be happy about it.
"I personally am leaning toward a limited hunting situation although I suspect neighbors won't like that," he said. "This is a serious problem in Shelby County."
-- Alex Doniach: 529-5231
Copyright 2007, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
That's exactly what the cotton picker was doing!
Hot lead, 3 inches above the tops of the plants.
Seemed to be working out ok until the people thought Bambi might be there got all mushy about it. Hope some of these people get a real good close look at the deer. At twilight, as they come around a curve in the road while the deer are on their way to dinner in the cotton fields.
Sounds like Farmer Curloni is a good shot and would be well able to handle coyotes in the area, too. That would really tickle neighbors ;-)
What do you think of this deer thing?
IOW the girly men were horrified.
Nobody seems to remember Bambi’s mom was EATEN for dinner (yummy)
This farmer was killing VERMIN. Perhaps he should have just burried the bodies, HOWEVER will deer stay away from dead deer bodies?
Oh man, that’s terrible. Glad you have Opera on that old computer - I can’t imagine being cutoff from the computer!
Agreed. The meat should have been processed.
Heck I would buy some.
That’s the last time those damn deer steal my cotton!!!
Waste of time an energy. One of the complaints is that the carcasses attract coyotes and buzzards. Well, they're already there so might just as well feed them with the dead deer than have them come snooping around the neighborhood farms..........
Bring in wolves!
Every depredation permit I have ever seen prohibits the harvest of the meat.
I agree, it is a waste, but done to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest as to the reason the deer are killed.
What a lot of people dont understand is that the rising deer population will result in a rising cougar population too
W H A T ?
Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.
Our house took a lighting strike 2 yrs ago,lost an
old Dell,2 TVs all the phones,blew the overhang off and
it caught on fire,the heavy downpour put the fire out,
we had ceiling heat from an old TVA program,blew the ceilings out,broke a compleat dehavilland china set
Farmers around here do the same thing about the deer,myself included. Most people would too if they had that much money tied up in that crop.
Shoot 'em when you see 'em should be the rule.
You were both right. Suburban sprawl, far from taking away deer habitat, creates virtually ideal habitat--lush greenery, shrubs, tasty flowers and vegetables, succulent young trees and bushes--far better than the treelines and fields they have been used to up until lately.
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