Deer Reports & Ordinances

Deer Reports & Ordinances




Deer are considered by many to be one of nature’s most beautiful animals, but they can compromise public safety and pose a nuisance to homeowners. Additionally, an overabundance of deer will denude forest undergrowth and remove vital food sources on which other animals rely. This overabundance of deer can have a dramatic impact on the quality of small, urban forests.

In the 1950’s deer were isolated to the Land Between the Lakes region of Kentucky and numbered approximately 2,000. Between 1960 and 1990, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife released deer into Kentucky from other parts of the country. This restocking program increased the number of deer in the state from approximately 2,000 in the 1950’s to over 1 million today. According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, deer are reaching a saturation point in many parts of the Commonwealth.


More people are killed as a result of deer/vehicle collisions each year than by dogs, snakes, sharks, mountain lions, bears and alligators combined. On average 130 people are killed in deer/vehicle collisions each year, making deer the most deadly animal in the United States.


In Fort Thomas, between 2003 and 2006 there were 47 deer/vehicle collisions reported in Fort Thomas. This results in a yearly average of 11.75 deer/vehicle collisions in Fort Thomas. Most of the collisions occur along Memorial Parkway and Mary Ingles Highway. Due to the number of deer carcasses found along the wooded areas of the city it is obvious that many more such collisions go unreported. Based on statistics provided by the Kentucky State Police (, each collision results in approximately $2,000 in damage to the vehicle, but more importantly, a collision puts the occupants of the vehicle at risk of injury or death. In an effort to reduce these risks, the city suggests that drivers implement the following defensive driving techniques:

  • Watch closely for deer in early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active during these times.
  • Be especially alert during the months of October, November and December when deer are very active.
  • Be especially alert and drive with caution when you are moving through known deer crossing areas such as Memorial Parkway, Mary Ingles Highway and Interstate 471.
  • Use your high-beam headlights whenever possible.
  • Upon seeing a deer, immediately slow down. Do not swerve. Swerving can cause you to enter the lane of opposing traffic or drive off of the roadway.
  • Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer often travel together in small herds.
  • Ensure that the driver and all occupants of the car are wearing seatbelts. Make sure small children are securely placed in approved child-safety seats. Most people injured or killed in deer/vehicle collisions were not wearing a seat belt. The Fort Thomas Fire Department and Police Department are available to assist with the proper installation of child-safety seats.

If you are involved in a collision with a deer move your vehicle from the roadway if possible and immediately call the police. Do not approach, touch or attempt to move an injured deer. A deer that has been injured could injure you in its attempt to escape the situation.


While deer appear to be harmless creatures, the number of attacks on humans by deer is on the increase. An attack by a deer can be brutal. Deer antlers can cause puncture wounds. On occasion, deer attacks have been known to result in severe and permanent injury to people and even death. To reduce the risk of being a victim of a deer attack, people are encouraged to observe the following suggestions:

  • Never provide food to a deer. When a pattern of regular feeding has been established deer become protective of the food source and may attack those near the food source – even those people providing the food.
  • Never, under any circumstance, approach a deer. Deer are wild animals. While they may appear docile, their demeanor can change without warning.
  • Be especially cautious of deer with fawns. Mother deer are very protective of their young.
  • Male deer, known as “bucks,” can attack people without provocation, especially during the “rut” season – October through December. The rut is the time of year when female deer, known as “does,” emit a scent that tells the bucks they are ready to breed.
  • If you do see a deer, observe it from a distance, preferably from inside a structure or vehicle.



Deer pose a threat to public safety by the possibility of transmitting diseases to people. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are known to be carried by deer. Laboratory tests indicate that these diseases can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected parasites such as ticks. To help reduce the likelihood of contracting one of these diseases the following measures are suggested:

  • Never approach a deer under any circumstance. Touching a deer increases the chances of exposure to disease.
  • Never attempt to feed a deer by hand or touch food that a deer has eaten. Touching the saliva of a deer increases the chances of exposure to disease.
  • Bring pet food containers inside at night. Leaving food out overnight encourages deer, and other nuisance animals, to rely on humans for food.
  • When working in your lawn, landscaping or garden, or when walking or hiking in a wooded area, always wear insect repellent to discourage ticks and other insects from biting.


It is illegal to discharge a firearm or weapon of any type, including bows, slings and crossbows, anywhere within the City of Fort Thomas.


While there are no easy answers to the deer issue there are strategies that can be implemented by residents to help reduce the occurrence of deer-related damage to landscape plants and gardens. The ideas and suggestions listed below are common deer management strategies recommended from numerous sources:

Strategy #1: Buy deer resistant plants
For more information on which plants are unpalatable to deer, contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, and ask for a copy of the fact sheet “Resistance of Woody Ornamental Plants to Deer Damage.” Please be aware however that a hungry deer faced with a shortage of food supply, will eat almost any kind of plant.

Strategy #2: Use common “scents”……….and some uncommon ones also
Human hair, human urine, predator urine or droppings, deodorant soap, dried blood in a cloth bag, and milorganite are commonly suggested scent barriers to use around vulnerable plants to deter deer. These scents tell the deer that a threat is present, and will help discourage them from low growing plants (but does not protect taller species such as daylilies). However, these scents (particularly the human scents) will prove less effective against more domesticated deer, and also present obvious aesthetic issues.

Strategy #3: Chemical spray repellants
Commercial repellants often are more effective than the above-listed home remedy concoctions. Besides the cost involved, the biggest disadvantage is that they need to be re-applied frequently, at least after every rain. The effectiveness of different repellants has been shown to vary from a 15% to 80% reduction in damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before applying a chemical repellant. Never apply repellants to any portion of a plant likely to be eaten by humans unless the label permits it. There are typically two different kinds of product sprays to be used on: 1) shrubbery, trees, flowers, landscaping plants; or 2) fruits, vegetables and edible plants. These products are available at most garden supply and hardware stores. Listed below are some common repellants, with Internet web address and telephone number, if available, to obtain more information.

·This One Works: Voluntary Purchasing Group, Bonham TX 75418

·Bobbex: (800)-792-4449

·Deerbusters (888)-422-3337

·DeerOff (800) DEER-OFF

·Not Tonight Deer:
77 Waller St., San Francisco, CA 94102

·Repellex: (877) REPEL-IT, or (800) 635-8939

·Tree Guard:

Strategy #4: Netting and Partial Barriers
Black nylon netting normally sold to protect berries and fruit from birds can be used to cover plants on a temporary basis. Sixty (60) pound fishing line also can be used for this purpose. Deer do not see particularly well and will back off after brushing against the strands. The main advantage is that it is less expensive than full fences, and can also be unobtrusive. Used as a fence, it needs to be constructed high enough to prevent the deer from simply leaning or jumping over it (typically six feet). However, a determined deer will eventually learn to push against the fence to gain access to the plants. When draped over the plants, make sure to remove and re-drape frequently as the plants grow.

Strategy #5: Noisemakers and Frightening Devices
Hang pie pans to produce noise in the wind. Install a motion detector near your garden. Leave a radio on outside all night (without disturbing the neighbors, of course). Other devices such as propane exploders/cannons, shellcrackers and similar combustible devices are unlawful to use or sell within the city without a permit, if classified as a Class C or B explosive (common or special fireworks) by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Please be aware that frightening devices may only temporarily alleviate the problem, as deer tend to easily adjust to man-made gadgets and soon ignore them.

Strategy #6: Fences
Permanent fencing is the most reliable deer control solution, but not necessarily the most practical in terms of appearance, cost or terrain. Also, due to zoning regulations, City of Fort Thomas residents are required to apply for a permit prior to the installation of any permanent fence, and must comply with the maximum fence height regulations. Obstructions to a safe landing for the deer on the opposite side of the fence pose the threat of injury and can be a strong deterrent. The combination of fence with accompanying shrubs tall enough that the deer can’t see through may work. Whatever the height and material of the fence, the construction low to the ground must be very solid.


Please be advised that the City of Fort Thomas neither endorses nor guarantees the effectiveness of any of the aforementioned strategies or products. Proper caution and safety should be followed at all times with installation or application of any strategy, including the use of professional installation or consultation with the manufacturer.

2011 Deer Survey/Count

2010 Deer Survey/Count



WHEREAS, the city enacted ordinance O-35-2007 to allow for the discharge of arrows from bows and crossbows within the city; and

WHEREAS, ordinance O-35-2007 included a “sunset clause” which required the expiration of the ordinance on February 1, 2011; and

WHEREAS, Section 95.05 has expired and is no longer in effect; and

WHEREAS, the city continues to experience deer-vehicle accidents in the city due to the deer population in the city; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Council desires to provide for the discharge of arrows from bows and crossbows on certain properties in the city to help reduce the number of deer and improve public safety by reducing the number of deer-vehicle accidents in the city.



Section 95.05 of the City of Fort Thomas Code of Ordinances is hereby amended by adding as follows:


No person shall discharge any firearm of any nature, nor use or discharge any sling, bow or other weapon in the City of Fort Thomas, except as specifically provided hereinbelow. The prohibition of this section shall not apply to any police officer or agent of this city acting in his or her official capacity.

(A) Exceptions. The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to any individual discharging an arrow from a bow or crossbow when such discharge meets all of the following requirements:

(1) When such discharge occurs:
(a) From one-half hour before sunrise to 10:00 AM from November 1 through November 21 or from January 1 through the end of the Kentucky archery hunting season for deer as established by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for that year; or
(b) Pursuant to a depredation permit issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; and
(2) When the individual is discharging an arrow from a point not less than 200 feet from a residence, apartment, or business structure not on the property on which the discharge is occurring, or a street, highway, interstate, railroad or park, in the direction the arrow is discharged; and
(3) When the individual is discharging an arrow in a manner where no residence, apartment or business structure not on the property on which the discharge is occurring, or a street, highway, interstate, railroad or park is less than 100 feet to both the left and right of the direction of the arrow’s trajectory; and
(4) When the individual is discharging an arrow in a manner in which it does not leave the property from which it is being discharged; and
(5) When the individual is discharging an arrow not more than 35 yards from the intended target; and
(6) When the individual discharging an arrow is either the owner of the property upon which the arrow is being discharged or has the permission of the property owner upon which the arrow is being discharged; and
(7) When the discharge occurs on a lot 3 acres or greater in area, or on a combination of contiguous lots under the same ownership which cumulatively are 3 acres or greater in area.

(B) The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to any individual discharging an arrow as part of an educational program on property owned or controlled by the educational institution, specifically including, but not limited to, archery classes taught in a public or private school.

This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage, approval, and publication as required by law.


Mary H. Brown, Mayor

1st Reading: September 6, 2011

Adopted: September 19, 2011

Publication: September 29, 2011


Melissa K. Kelly, City Clerk


§ 95.30 SCOPE.

This subchapter shall apply to the field dressing of any animal killed in conjunction with the discharge of any arrow from a bow in strict compliance with § 95.05 of this Chapter.


FIELD DRESSING. The process of removing blood and internal organs from an animal carcass.


Any individual who field dresses an animal carcass within the City of Fort Thomas is required to containerize and remove all blood and internal organs from within the City of Fort Thomas. No blood or internal organs resulting from field dressing an animal shall be buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of within the City of Fort Thomas, nor shall any blood or internal organs be placed in trash containers for collection by the city or the city’s garbage franchisee.



It is hereby determined that an increasing population of deer within the City of Fort Thomas: poses a threat to public safety by increasing the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions, deer attacks on residents, pedestrians and visitors, and the transmission of diseases to humans from deer; poses a threat to native plant and animal life by excessive foraging which disturbs natural ecological balances; and poses a threat to the quality of life by deer-related damage to landscaping and vegetable gardens.


(A) No person shall knowingly, purposely or intentionally feed deer, cause deer to be fed or provide food to deer in the City of Fort Thomas on any public or private property. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, disbursement of food on the ground, at a feeding station, in a feeding device, or in a container of any form; providing a salt or mineral lick/block; or any other means which serves to provide feed to any deer in the City of Fort Thomas.

(B) A person shall be deemed to have knowingly, purposely or intentionally fed deer, caused deer to be fed, or provided food to deer if the person places, or allows to be placed, wheat, pelleted livestock food, corn in any form, fruit, vegetables, hay or alfalfa, human food scraps, any form of commercially sold wildlife feed, birdseed or livestock feed, or any other edible matter that deer will consume on the ground or within the reach of deer. This prohibition shall not include live vegetation such as ornamental landscaping, flowers, trees, vines, vegetable gardens, edible matter located either in an enclosed building or stored in a securely sealed package, or unmodified commercially purchased bird feeders or their equivalent when placed out of the reach of deer.


Any person, upon written notification by the city, violating § 91.51 shall immediately and permanently remove feed and feeding devices utilized to feed deer, and discontinue the activity for which the notification was given.

§ 91.99 PENALTY.

(H) Any person violating § 91.51 of this Ordinance shall be deemed to have committed a civil offense, and be subject to a fine of $100.00 for a first violation, $250.00 for a second violation, and $500 for a third and each subsequent violation. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense.

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