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Hunters, Farmers Battle over Deer Hunting Permits in Knox Co.
KNOX COUNTY (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- A group of concerned hunters is asking state officials to stop the slaughter of deer by farmers who claim to be acting only to protect their crops.
Neighbors in the area of Obeien and Gilchrist Roads in Knox County sent letters to 900 Mount Vernon area residents, asking them to call on Ohio Department of Natural Resources administrators to reconsider so-called 'deer damage control permits'.
Opponents of the permits criticize many acts allegedly committed by farmers, including the killing of mother deer who leave behind fawns too young to survive on their own.
"It's like "Bambi" in real life," said Scott Pullins of the Public Affairs for Hunters Group. "Except real life is a lot harsher than the movies."
Fourth generation farmer Brandon Boeshart has held a permit for six years, and believes he is doing nothing wrong by preventing deer from feeding on his 2100 acre property.
"This is our livelihood," he said. "We have to take action or the deer will kill our corn and soybeans."
Boeshart denies knowledge of extremely violent acts allegedly committed against deer by permit holders, including the killing of fawns with lawnmowers.
Hunter Randy Wilhelm is among the permits' critics who believe that many holders are using the threat against crops as as excuse to kill deer for fun.
"I hunt. We use the meat," Wilhelm said. "They are just shooting deer for kicks, just to kill something. We see no crop damage."
Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials have declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the use of the permits.