Saturday, November 14, 2020

Warrenton, Oregon: Nighttime deer hunts at Astoria Regional Airport (KAST)

WARRENTON — The Port of Astoria got city approval for nighttime hunts to kill deer causing a danger to aircraft at the Astoria Regional Airport.

Gary Kobes, the airport manager, said the Port has 10 kill permits from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and more available if needed.

The Port of Astoria received permission to kill about 10 deer that have entered the Astoria Regional Airport and caused a danger to aircraft.

“I got a call from the Coast Guard about a week and a half, two weeks ago, that there were eight or 10 deer out on the runway one night, and went out the following night and, in about an hour’s time, spotted nine or 10 deer,” Kobes told the City Commission Tuesday.

Deer are considered dangerous to aircraft when inside a fence surrounding the runways. A Learjet from the Canadian military struck an elk in the early 2000s and caught fire. Everyone escaped, but the plane was destroyed, Kobes said. The port has erected a fence and cattle guards on roadways around the airfield to keep animals out.

“I don’t know whether the deer were inside the fence, and they multiplied over time, or they somehow found a way through, which is just as likely,” Kobes said. “We’ve never seen any more than a couple out there at any one time, but apparently, with the sighting and my observation, the count is significantly high (and) we need to get it down.”

Volunteers will begin hunting in the coming week at night with spotlights to avoid people on the Airport Dike Trail, Kobes said. The hunts could happen over several weeks, he said, and the meat will be distributed to food banks.

The City Commission also gave police permission to shut down the Airport Dike Trail during hunts and post signs to notify the public. Kobes said he will coordinate the hunts with Police Chief Mathew Workman, who said he expects a flood of calls in response to the gunfire.

The nighttime hunting will also help avoid bird hunters, who are allowed by state law within three specific areas in city limits using shotguns and steel pellets. Warrenton code also allows the discharge of firearms on private property with permission from the police.

“There’s only a few places in town for you to have a range like some people do, (where) they build up a berm and it’s done safely,” Workman said. “Then yeah, you can do that within the city limits. We’re kind of unique that way.”


  1. Deer routinely jump standard fencing. Raising perimeter fences high enough to stop the jumps would be pricey for the large running length of fencing around airports. Tough problem to solve.

  2. Same issue with US interstates, at least in the southeast and midwest where there are property barrier fences put up by the state that are only 4' tall. Deer can easily jump that. I've had to dodge several on interstates at full speed. One time I saw a doe trying to outrun my Durango at 75mph and I moved into the left lane to avoid her, got her a glancing blow, and she was destroyed by a rig behind me. Deer are not cute, and they destroy things including human lives. Their herds need to be kept in check no matter what the PETAnazis say. I've lost count just in the past few weeks of KR reports of deer incursion incidents.

  3. I have hit 37 deer on Midwestern highways since 1985. Six so far this year; last one was a week ago. All my wheeled vehicles wear deer plows. $2000 each but it pays for itself every time I hit a deer. Not feasible on an airplane, though.

  4. Atlantic City International Airport, which sits on more than 6,000 acres, Gov. Murphy has said this year could be the last for deer and bear hunts, which the Democrat pledged to end when he ran for governor in 2017.

  5. Why "hunt" when you can just loot.

    1. Yes, but one must loot, then burn the store to the ground to gain the full effect of the shrinkage...