Reporter: Carleigh Griffeth
Bedford, VA- The Bedford City Council has approved a new bow hunting ordinance to help control the city's high deer population. Residents are anxious to take advantage of the program.
But there's a couple rules residents need to know about first. Hunters have to get a permit from the police department, and written permission from the landowner. Also, weapons can't be used in any public settings, or aimed towards buildings or houses. And the ordinance limits hunting to antler less deer on parcels of three acres or more.
It's a lot to remember. But for some annoyed residents, it's all worth it.
"A lot of damage caused by the deer to brush, people's flowers were damaged. Also vehicle crashes. We have a lot of vehicle crashes involving deer. So we want to limit the population of the deer in the city," said Lt. Todd Foreman, Bedford City PD.
So does Don Fortney.
"We see the same herd every day at 4 o'clock. 24 of them," said Fortney, a Bedford resident.
Twenty-four deer with big appetites.
"We lost all of our sweet potatoes. Our corn was all knocked down. And they just nibbled off anything that's flowering. We get to see the flower for about one day and then it's gone. It's dessert for them," said Fortney.
And according to Fortney, and his pitiful plants, these deer have a big sweet tooth. Something he didn't think he'd have to deal with.
"You're in the city for crying out loud. Who would think you'd have a deer problem in the city," said Fortney.
But after seven years of deer roaming his yard...
"They're like pets now. You can walk up within ten feet of them a lot of times. They have no fear of humans because they're around so many of them here in the city," said Fortney.
Because they have no fear, Fortney says it's very difficult to get rid of them.
"They'll give you a nasty look and just snort and take off. They're very arrogant about it. They get really insulted that you're on their property. I pay all the taxes here but it's their property," said Fortney.
Fortney hasn't hunted for ten years. But the city's new ordinance has encouraged him to pick the sport back up.
"When they eat up all your landscaping and all your garden. Something needs to be done," said Fortney.
There might be some residents of Bedford who aren't too happy about this ordinance though. Some are concerned with safety, others actually just like seeing the deer. Fortney says there's a man on his street who used to feed a herd of deer every day when he got off work.