Bow hunters in Thunder Bay will have a new target next fall — they will be allowed to shoot deer in rural sections of Thunder Bay.

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John Kaplanis, executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance. ((Jeff Walters))

City councillors voted to approve the bow hunt at a meeting Monday night. They also banned the feeding of deer within city limits.

But the executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance said the move won't be the silver bullet to the deer problem.

"We've all acknowledged that bow hunting, in this instance, is not the end-all-be-all to this problem," John Kaplanis said.

"It's not something that's going to be resolved, even if we instituted a bow hunt tomorrow."

It took a few hours of debate before Thunder Bay city council decided to allow bow hunters to take down deer in the city. At times, the number of deer and car collisions took a back seat to emotions.

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Ross Johnston, conservation officer ((Jeff Walters))

The sole person who spoke out against the deer hunt was kicked out of the meeting, after swearing. Councillors lashed out at one another, making fun of their opinions and comments.

Elusive numbers

Councillor Andrew Foulds said holding a deer hunt in the city needed better data.

"This strategy is really a shot in the dark, because we don't have any of the numbers," he said.

A city administration report noted that, on average, 1.6 deer are hit by cars every day. However, when pressed, nobody at council could figure out where that number came from.

Ross Johnston, a conservation officer who answered a lot of deer-related questions during the debate, said there are fewer collisions than the report indicates.

"The city has a contractor who picks up dead animals off the city streets," he said.

"And I think, over the last few years, he's been taking 200 deer per year."

Details pertaining to the hunt are expected to be figured out this the spring.