Iowa City is again debating hiring sharpshooters to cull its growing deer population and residents are divided on the issue.

Deer can be seen in parks, yards, even in the middle of city streets, damaging gardens and causing car crashes. In past years, the city has rejected calls to approve bow hunting of deer, opting instead to hire sharpshooters, but resident Carl Klaus says the sporadic programs aren’t a long-term solution.

“What it’s telling us is that sharpshooting isn’t enough or isn’t the way to solve this problem,” Klaus says. The last sharpshooting program in 2009 cost Iowa City taxpayers $95,000. While some bow hunters have said they would pay to hunt in the city, Iowa City does not allow private bow-hunting for population control.

At a public meeting on the issue, hunter Mark Finley said he hopes that will change. “I’m in favor of the bow hunting option, like a lot of the other cities in Iowa have done,” Finley says. “I’m probably the oddball in the room, I guess. Just going through the numbers, I know Coralville has killed approximately 1,000 deer with their bow hunting system over the years.” Bow hunting has faced consistent pushback from many Iowa City residents, some of whom don’t want the deer killed at all.

(Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)