HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The vast woods of Stennis Space Center's 13,000 acres are home to hundreds and hundreds of deer. There could be as many as 1700 to 3200, according to Stennis Director Gene Goldman.
"We've got about twice as many deer as we should."
And, Goldman says, that's a problem. First, deer can dangerous. Signs are a testament to past accidents. But Goldman says the biggest reason Stennis needs to control the deer population is to protect the herd.
"The fact that we're seeing malnourishment at this point is indicative that we are taking the right steps at the right time," Goldman said.
Members of local hunting clubs are upset at how the deer are being killed.
"They're taking 200 head at night in means of head-lighting and they're shooting them in the head. The deer don't have a chance," hunting club member Gregg Lichtenstein said. "If I go headlight a deer at night, they're going to confiscate my truck, my guns, I could serve time. There are other ways to manage a deer herd than shooting a deer."
Stennis leaders say they looked at other solutions.
"We considered a range of options including potential birth control for deer, to allowing the deer population to take care of itself," Goldman said. "The state currently doesn't allow relocation because this overpopulation of deer exists statewide."
Hunting club members are allowed to hunt in the Stennis buffer zone three times a year, and aren't happy that state hunters are encroaching on their sport.
"We spend a lot of our time with our kids to keep them off the streets and come out here and enjoy this land and hunt on this land like they are supposed to," Lichtenstein said.
Lichtenstein says leave the deer alone and sport hunters could control the herd. But Stennis officials say that hasn't happened, and this is the best solution.
"Anytime we start removing part of our wildlife, we want to do it as humanely as possible. We believe what we did was make the most human decision that could be made," Goldman said. "This is not a case of deer hunting."
Hunting club members have contacted Congressman Gene Taylor's office in hopes of getting him to stop the government's killing of deer at Stennis. The meat from the deer kill is being distributed to food banks around the state.
Multiple wrecks on I-10 in Jackson County is bringing traffic to a crawl. Mississippi Highway Patrol says they are responding to at least two accidents -- one at the Hwy. 57 exit in the eastbound lane and one at the Gautier-Vancleave exit in the westbound lane.More >>
Highway 90 in Biloxi is filling up with cars as the 15th annual Scrapin the Coast kicks off this weekend.More >>
The City of Gulfport has rejected a daycare owner's request to take down a live oak tree. Kid Academy on Pass Road filed the request as part of its expansion plans.More >>
A man is facing charges of arson after allegedly setting a tree on fire in Biloxi early Saturday morning.More >>
A 150-year-old parsonage house in Moss Point is being preserved by the Dantzler Memorial United Methodist Church.More >>
Melania Trump is two weeks into life as a full-time Washingtonian and says she's enjoying White House life so much that she isn't really missing New York.More >>
Tyler Newman's Facebook post on June 20 has gone viral, and he begins by saying, "I have never really witnessed sexual harassment and/or 'rape culture' until today with Smoky Crossing Apartments."More >>
You hear the phrase 'no means no' thrown around when it comes to a woman's ability to protect herself from unwanted sexual advances, but in the state of North Carolina - no doesn't always mean no.More >>
At first she thought maybe the ranch dressing made the salad taste funny. It wasn't the ranch dressing.More >>
A California woman discovered an unpleasant surprise among the lettuce and the croutons.More >>