Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NEW YORK NEWS: High Price Tag for Urban Deer Management

The draft deer plan adopted by the village of Cayuga Heights Board of Trustees could cost $470,000 in the first three years and almost $1 million over 10 years.

"It's a very sobering number, but it appears as though this would be what it costs," Mayor Jim Gilmore said.

Late Monday night, the board adopted a draft deer plan that would sterilize 30-60 does and cull or kill the rest, estimated to be 100 to 200 other deer.

Trustee David Donner was the only vote against. Donner said he supported culling but not sterilization.

"Horses and deer are creatures that panic. To trap and hold them for hours or days in cages or nets is inhumane. To subject them to an unnatural and unnecessary surgery is also inhumane," he said. "I ask for a swift and honorable death for the deer, just as I do for horses."

Gilmore and the other five trustees voted in favor of the draft plan, arguing it would be the fastest and most effective way to reduce the village's deer population. Sterilization is intended to reduce in-migration by other deer when village deer are killed, according to the village's plan.

The proposal was submitted by the village's deer-remediation advisory committee in June. Since that time, the village has held two regular evening meetings, during which the majority of speakers -- who were from Cayuga Heights, Tompkins County and central New York -- have spoken against killing the deer.

Deer were the major issue in both of the last village elections. The village had not seen a contested election for 22 years prior to the two in the last two years.

In the March elections for three trustee positions, the Community Party candidates -- who said they would be willing to consider culling -- won with 414, 405 and 380 votes. The Open Government candidates -- who said they opposed culling at this time -- gained 170, 166 and 153 votes. Voter turnout was 28 percent, according to the Board of Elections.

Trustee Robert Andolina created the financial forecast based on the deer committee's recommendations. He noted that unlike other municipalities that control the deer population through hunting, the village will not get any hunting permit revenue to offset costs.

"I think we have to think seriously about the price tag here," Andolina said.

Village Treasurer Jeffrey Silber said the entire village budget for 2010 totals $2.07 million, meaning the average $100,000 per year on deer control would be equivalent to a 5 percent tax levy increase.

Trustee Bea Szekely said the board could pare down its plan before adopting a final version or actually allocating any money, but that the board should push hard to reduce the number of deer.

"I think we had a strong mandate from the recent election to remediate the deer herd," she said.

The board is undertaking a state-mandated environmental review of the proposed plan. State law does not require a public hearing in conjunction with such environmental reviews, but it's common for municipalities to have them. The village board chose to wait until its next meeting to decide whether to hold a public hearing on the proposal.

The board's next meetings are scheduled for noon Sept. 14 and 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in Marcham Hall, 836 Hanshaw Road.

Source: The Ithaca Journal

Monday, August 24, 2009

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Deer Hunt Considered for Tyler State Park

Officials are proposing allowing bow-and-arrow hunting of deer in a suburban Philadelphia park this fall and early winter.

More than 100 people packed a Bucks County meeting room Saturday to weigh in on the proposal for Tyler State Park in Newtown Township.

If approved, the archery hunt would be in addition to an annual shotgun hunt scheduled for Dec. 9 this year. As many as 10 hunters would be allowed to hunt each day in a northern section of the 1,711-acre park for several weeks.

Officials say the one-day shotgun hunts aren't sufficiently reducing the number of deer.

Some of those attending expressed concerns about the humaneness of archery hunting. Others said they were concerned about the safety of allowing archery hunting over an extended period when the rest of the park is still open for general use.

Source: Lebanon Daily News