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Protesters Take Aim Against Ogden Dunes Deer Cull

File Photo (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

File Photo (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

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ODGEN DUNES, IN. (CBS)– Opposition to a planned deer cull, which is set to start on November 26th, mobilized about 30 Ogden Dunes residents on Saturday afternoon.

The group dressed in bright orange shirts emblazoned with the acronym “SODD” — Save Ogden Dunes Democracy — and waved signs at passers-by, sometimes garnering appreciative honks, at the corner of Hillcrest Road and Boat Club Road. They were standing not too far from two of the three deer stands recently erected around town. A third location was approved for Suerenity Park. The 2012 permit is valid through Feb. 28, 2013.

The deer cull has been a contentious topic since the town first applied for a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in 2011. The town cited a high number of Lyme disease cases in the 2011 permit application, but the 2012 application also cites the destruction of residents’ landscaping as reason for the special use permit. In 2011, 17 deer were killed in the cull.

In August, the DNR rejected the town’s application for two options — deer contraception, and the trap and transfer of deer — while requesting more information on the four-poster insecticide method.

Marie Kosteskie has lived in the community for 15 years and she’s worried about the safety of her two children — ages 8 and 5 — who catch the bus less than 100 feet from one of the stands — north of the Street Department building. She can see the stand from the window in her dining room.

“They’re upset,” Kosteskie said. “I had to tell them what it was so they wouldn’t go near it. I don’t think anyone is going to come by for a play date.”

Shooting will take place between 30 minutes before dawn and 30 minutes after dusk. No more than 40 deer may be taken under the permit, which allows bait to be used to concentrate deer at the shooting locations. A February 2012 flyover count revealed 58 deer within the town limits.

Town Councilman Charlie Costanza, who was the only council member to vote against renewing the 2011 permit, said the issue has become difficult for the town. He said the Plan Commission retaliated against him by stopping work on a project he was working on in town.

“We’ve got a cancer in this town,” Costanza said. “I’ve lived here 47 years and I can’t believe what it’s turned into. It’s such an emotional issue.”

Mark Coleman said the town council is ignoring the will of the people by proceeding with plans for a deer cull, when many residents are in opposition to it.

“This is a very serious case of suppression,” Coleman said. “They’re ignoring our basic, fundamental rights. We’ve been stifled at every turn, and they’re taking excessive steps. Our movement is to get the word out to the masses.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)