Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WISCONSIN NEWS: Wausau Takes Aim At Urban Deer

A flurry of resident complaints about deer foraging in yards has led city officials to find a safe method to control the urban deer population.

The favored method involves hiring sharpshooters. Several residents on the outskirts of the city claim deer ravage their landscaping and create a safety hazard for traffic. Based on police records, there were about 100 deer-related crashes within city limits the past five years.

"The consensus has been that we need to do something to control the deer in the city," said Dave Erickson, the city's environmental engineer.

Deb Hadley, president of the City Council, said Monday at a public hearing that some council members, including herself, started receiving complaints this summer about the deer. Erickson said a state grant could provide up to $5,000 for urban deer control, and the city has applied for a grant.

At the public hearing, four Wausau residents spoke about the deer issue -- three raised no objections to the sharpshooters, though Brad Hoffman did.

"I think the bow is the effective way of getting rid of (the deer problem)," Hoffman said, adding that Rhinelander used bowhunters last year to control deer herds within city limits.

Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said he's received requests from bowhunters to help control the urban herds, but police have yet to authorize hunting within the city.

"We're just not comfortable allowing hunting in the city," he said. "We feel more comfortable with sharpshooters."

If sharpshooters were used, Hardel said they would put up deer stands near a problem area -- mostly on the northeast, northwest and westernmost outskirts -- bait the deer and then shoot them during evening hours. The sharpshooters would not be positioned in someone's backyard, Hardel said.

The city expects to hear back from the state regarding the grant in January.

Source: http://www.fdlreporter.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071113/FON0101/311130051/1985

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