NEWARK — Is there an over-abundance of deer in the village? That’s the question village officials hope a new survey will answer.
Complaints about increasing deer sightings in the village and the damage to plants they are causing prompted the Village Board to look into the issue and determine if there is indeed a problem. Police Chief David Christler was tasked with exploring the matter and potential solutions. He contacted a senior biologist in Avon to find out the best way to handle the matter and reported back to the board what he learned last month.
Christler said first they must gauge from residents whether they believe deer are becoming too numerous in the village. Reports from officers on regular patrol suggest there does seem to be an increasing number of deer noted in four primary areas, he said. One herd roams at the south of the village; a second is concentrated in the west on land between Route 31 and Woodlane; a third has been seen east of Patterson Road and the fourth are north of the railroad tracks near the old village landfill, but they aren’t large herds, he said.
“There is a feeling that there is a problem with deer,” Trustee Kurt Werts said.
Werts said he sees deer relatively regularly where he lives in the village. Mayor Peter Blandino said on the flip side he rarely sees deer near his home.
In his research, Christler discovered several options for controlling deer populations in village limits, including contraception at $1,000 per deer annually; sprays that work well in residential areas; 18-foot tall fencing for problem areas; and lethal solutions to kill off the excessive numbers.
The board’s first step, however, is to ask what residents think about the matter. Christler developed a survey he presented to the board for their approval at its meeting on Aug. 20. The survey consists of five simple questions that guage where the resident lives, if they believe there’s a problem, any damage they have sustained by deer and what they think the village should do about it.
For those who believe there is a problem, the survey offers four possible solutions: Do nothing; improve awareness to include education, deer resistant plantings, deer repellant, signage, fencing and feeding; cull the herd through bow hunting in selected areas of the village; or coordinate with landowners bordering the village to allow more hunting. Survey takers may check all that apply.
Christler warned the board that the issue is an emotionally charged one with strong views that range widely. Since the Wayne Post announced Christler’s findings last month, he said he has received calls about the the deer problem. The feeling, he said, seems to show opposition to using lethal forces to thin out the herds.
Page 2 of 2 - “I could never approve a resolution to cull the herds,” Trustee John Zornow said, adding that he uses “liquid fence” successfully to keep the deer at bay.
It was noted that there are some people out there who feed the deer, which attracts the animals. The state Department of Environmental Conservation actually prohibits the feeding of deer by residents. The survey also notes that the “over-population of deer can lead to starvation through over-browsing, disease among the herd, lyme disease spread through deer ticks and an increase in collisions with automobiles.”
The village has posted the survey on their website at http://bit.ly/13YcTwP where residents may answer the survey online or print the form, fill it out and return it to: Deer Management Survey, Village of Newark, 100 E. Miller St.