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Town of DeWitt reviewing first year of deer culling program

Town Supervisor gives the program a grade of "C" with plenty learned in year one

DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Town of DeWitt is still assessing how effective its first attempt was to get a handle on the out-of-control deer population in the town.

While the culling program did reduce the numbers some, the Supervisor says he'd give the initial program launch a grade of "C".

"So definitely a first year learning experience and as we go forward, which we knew we would be going and continue the program," Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko says.

He lists positives as actually getting the program up and running and finding locations to bait and cull the deer.

It ended up being a total of 13 nights in the first few months of this year, reducing the deer population by 53.

Michaelenko says there are some things in their control needing improvement as they go forward and then some things simply out of their control that worked against them.

"Weather is also another factor so in many cases, the baiting locations weren't as effective as they could have been because weather permitted the deer to feed in more ubiquitous manner."  He tells NewsChannel 9.

Going forward, Michalenko says they have to find more areas to implement this program to be effective, which is tough in a town as congested as DeWitt.

"It wasn't a one time effort and we stated that right up front.  So we'll be working with the other municipalities and we'll be trying to improve the program."  He adds.

Besides the deer population, they'll be measuring Lyme disease numbers, and car/deer accident reports as a way to judge the program's effectiveness.  

Michalenko says they won't start the program again until they get another sustained snow pack on the ground, possibly late this year or more likely early next year.

The town was able to donate about 1,600 pounds of venison to the Food Bank because of the program.


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