Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: Growing Human-Deer Conflicts in Putnam County

Deer have become such a problem in Putnam County that residents should be able to shoot them even when they're not in season, a man complained to county commissioners Tuesday.

Arnold Cyrus of Trace Fork asked commissioners to declare deer in the county a public nuisance so he and other residents could shoot them during the hunting off-season to prevent the animals from destroying crops.

"We need help on this some way or another," Cyrus said.

He said farmers growing alfalfa, clover, soybeans and a variety of flowers are constantly battling against a growing deer population.

State Division of Natural Resources representatives recommended he and other farmers put up fences around their property to keep the deer out. But residents would need fencing at least 8 feet high, and "we farmers don't have that kind of money," he said.

Cyrus said he's tried all the "old wives' tales" to deter the animals from eating his plants, but nothing seems to work.

Commissioner Joe Haynes agreed something needs to be done: "But the question is what?" Commissioners can't override state law and allow residents to shoot deer in the off-season, he said.

After Tuesday's meeting, DNR Capt. Stephan Stewart said county residents can apply for kill permits to shoot deer if they are causing substantial damage to gardens or other private property. The property can't be within 500 feet of another residence, highway or business, he said.

"We can authorize to use a bow and arrow to destroy the deer, and if that cannot be safely done, then the people ... will have to try fencing and repellents to prevent the deer from destroying their property," he said.

Source: Charleston Gazette

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