USDA recommends live deer trapping for DeWitt, Supervisor says ‘no’

Local News

DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is recommending the Town of DeWitt do more with its deer management program.

According to a report from USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, the first two years of the deer management program have yielded nearly 200 deer.

The report states in 2019, efforts of sharpshooters were successful and resulted in minimal conflicts with neighboring property owners and the general public. In 2019, 132 deer were taken. The year before, 53 deer were killed. According to the report, there were several challenges that had a negative impact on the project. The main challenge was interference with baiting activities at several locations by the public that discouraged deer from using the bait stations.

The report goes on to say during December 2018, January 2019, February 2019 and March 2019, over an 18 night period, 132 white-tailed deer were killed in the Town of Dewitt. That’s an average of 7.3 deer removed per night. A total of 171 staff hours were spent baiting and 328 staff hours to remove the deer. After processing, approximately 3,966 pounds of venison were delivered for donation.

Town of DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko says DeWitt in some areas has 90 deer per square mile, which is an incredibly high number.

With such a high number of deer, despite the number of deer killed by sharpshooters more than doubling from 2018 to 2019, the USDA has recommended DeWitt do live deer trapping this coming winter.

The report states:

“In areas where deer densities are high and shooting is not a feasible option under the current regulations, WS recommends live trapping deer. This will provide increased deer take and enhance the programs overall effectiveness

You can read the full report here.

NewsChannel 9 asked Michalenko directly if DeWitt would follow through on the USDA recommendation.

“No, not at this point,” he said. “We are looking at different options, but we feel like the program that we have needs to be in place for a number of years before it can truly be effective.”

Michalenko added he, and other municipalities, are waiting to see what Gov. Andrew Cuomo does with a bill regarding deer culling headed toward his desk.

“There is a bill in front of the Governor now that we hope he signs that will actually expand the range in the numbers of locations we will be able to cull,” Michalenko said.

You can read the bill here.

Michalenko says it will be anywhere between five to eight years before the deer population in DeWitt is under control.

You can learn more about the program here. if you have a story idea, give the Your Stories team a call at 315-446-9900 or email YourStories@localSYR.com

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