NEWARK — After releasing a survey regarding deer to residents on the village’s website, the board is asking for more input.
Complaints in recent months about a rise in the deer population within the village and the damage to plants caused by the animals prompted the Village Board to begin polling residents. The survey, developed by Police Chief David Christler, gives residents the opportunity to express their opinion on whether the village has a deer problem.
Christler told the board the village had received 18 responses to the survey and two phone calls. Of the two calls, Christler said one was in favor of eliminating the deer and the other was against the idea. What’s more, both callers were emotional about the subject.
Christler was tasked with researching the deer problem and finding potential solutions. He turned to the state Department of Environmental Conservation office in Avon and learned there are several options for controlling deer populations, 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. Due to the variables involved, Christler said, it can be an expensive problem to fix — and a complex one as well.
“If you cull the herd, how do you do it safely?” Christler asked. “A bow is a lethal weapon. It’ll kill a human as well as a deer.”
Also, said Christler, permitting hunting within the village, which is currently illegal, creates potential liabilities. Christler said if the village permits hunting and someone gets hurt, it’s possible Newark could be liable.
For residents who believe there is a problem, the survey offers four possible solutions: Do nothing; improve awareness to include education, create deer-resistant plantings, deer repellent, signage, fencing and feeding; cull the herd through bow hunting in selected areas of the village; and/or coordinate with landowners bordering the village to allow more hunting. Survey takers may check all that apply.
Reports from officers on regular patrol suggest there does seem to be an increasing number of deer in four primary areas, he said. One herd roams at the southern end 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 is north of the railroad tracks near the old village landfill, but they aren’t large herds, Christler said. He added that the deer for the most part leave the village during the day.
It was also noted that more deer are seen on the south side of the village as opposed to the north, and there was speculation that the canal may play a part in keeping deer from crossing to the north side. But Christler disagrees. He and his officers have seen deer swim across the canal. (Deer have been known to cross rivers and lakes.) It’s more likely, he added, that the south side of the village is simply a better habitat for deer.
Trustee John Zornow said he “could never approve a resolution to cull the herds,” adding that he uses Liquid Fence, a deer repellent, to keep the deer away from his yard.
Christler said he uses chemical sprays with success. As someone who likes the deer, but also likes the plants around his home, the chemicals are a perfect solution at a cost of about $100 a year. He said he also has seen people who have gotten very creative in how they trim their arbor vitae trees — a particular favorite for deer.