Judge allows Indianapolis park deer hunt to go forward, denying temporary injunction

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INDIANAPOLIS — The city of Indianapolis can proceed with its plan to allow deer hunting for the first time ever in a municipal park, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Marion Superior Court Judge Robert Altice denied a temporary injunction to block the hunt that had been sought by a park user who challenged the deer cull in court.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month by Wayne Larry Peavler claims the city parks board overstepped its authority when it approved the hunt at the 3,900-acre Eagle Creek Park without proper notice and public comment and that it inappropriately circumvented the City-County Council. It also claims the city hasn't adequately proven the deer are so overpopulated that a hunt is necessary.

"I'm very disappointed. It will no longer be a park. It will be a killing ground, so I won't go back," Peavler said after the ruling.

The deer cull in the northwest side park is due to begin Friday.

"We will continue with the schedule for the deer management program for this weekend," said a city spokeswoman, Lesley Gordon. "The park will be closed to all public to ensure safety," said Lesley Gordon, Indy Parks.

The city has said the deer population has grown too large and has eaten too much of the park's vegetation, impacting several species.

A state permit allows up to 350 deer to be taken at the park. The deer hunting is being conducted by A &T Wildlife Management, using hunters from the Wounded Warriors Outdoors program, which takes severely disabled combat veterans big-game hunting for what it calls "therapeutic outdoor adventures."

Nighttime culls also will be conducted later by U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooters. Those dates haven't been set.

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