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Jekyll Island deer an attraction, maybe a problem

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2010 file photo, two deer peer out from the underbrush bordering Pine Lakes golf course on Jekyll Island, Ga. Often spotted chewing leaves by roadsides and at the edge of golf course fairways, deer have become such a common sight o
FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2010 file photo, two deer peer out from the underbrush bordering Pine Lakes golf course on Jekyll Island, Ga. Often spotted chewing leaves by roadsides and at the edge of golf course fairways, deer have become such a common sight on Jekyll Island they're almost something of a tourist attraction. The question is whether Jekyll Island has too many deer, as a state agency's recent survey suggests, and if so how to thin the population at a state park that's beloved for its commitment to conservation. Just the suggestion that Jekyll might allow limited hunting has been met with howls of protest.
The Brunswick News, Bobby Haven, File, Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. — An abundance of white-tailed deer on Jekyll Island has made the critters a sort of tourist attraction, but a recent survey suggests there may be too many on the island state park.

The Jekyll Island Authority this month ordered its conservation manager to take a close look at the deer population. A report by the Department of Natural Resources said the island may have nearly three times more deer than it can support.

The DNR also recommended Jekyll Island might allow bow hunting or hire professional sharpshooters to thin the herd. That's stunned residents such as Bonnie Newell, who says hunting clashes with Jekyll's commitment to conservation.

Jekyll Island spokesman Eric Garvey says other alternatives will likely be considered before any hunts are allowed.

Online:

Jekyll Island Authority: http://www.jekyllislandauthority.org

Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island: http://www.savejekyllisland.org/