Deer causing problems at Smith-Reynolds Airport

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Deer are causing problems at Smith-Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem.

Fifteen deer have been spotted near Smith Reynolds Airport since January 2019.

“It’s kind of scary actually,” said Brooks Parker, a student pilot at Piedmont Flight Training in Winston-Salem.

Pilots train for deer wandering onto the runway.

“Full power and you just got to like blast off. It’s kind of like getting away from the runway as fast as you can,” Parker said.

A pilot from Piedmont Flight Training sported a herd.

“As she was going around, the landing light caught a herd of deer on the runway so if she actually did land and hit those deer, major catastrophic damage to the aircraft, possibly a hazard to life on board the aircraft,” said Tyler Howard, a flight instructor.

Ten deer have ended up inside the airport fence.

“Deer will hop over that fence,” Howard said.

One solution is allowing wildlife officers to shoot and kill the deer with rifles.

“When you add rifles and suppressors without notifying the community that does give me a cause for concern," Council Member James Taylor said at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The issue was presented, then tabled at Monday’s meeting.

“The neighborhood should be talked with a little more before we approve it,” Mayor Allen Joines said.

It’s not a big commercial airport, but Smith-Reynolds Airport contributed over $800 million to the state’s economy in 2017.

“Protecting the pilots or planes coming in is very important,” Joines said.

The public safety committee will reconsider the proposal at their August meeting.

That’s the time the public can comment and share their thoughts with council members.

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