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Wildlife Biologists Discuss Deer Control Options

Two wildlife biologists joined the discussion on how to possibly control the deer population in the city.

On March 10, the city’s Deer Ad Hoc Committee held its second meeting with guest Ryan Rockefeller, state Department of Conservation wildlife biologist, and C.J. Winand, wildlife biologist.

Rockefeller discussed how city officials could create a Deer Damage Permits program, also known as a bait and shoot, or could be part of a Deer Management Assistance program, which provides additional tags to hunters during hunting season.

Rockefeller said there are at least six municipalities in Erie and Niagara counties participating in bait and shoot programs. He said a program is feasible in Jamestown and could help control the deer population in the city.

“It may be something you need to look at to get things steered in the right direction,” he said.

In 2018, city officials did participate in a Deer Management Assistance program with additional doe tags going to eight landowners in the area known as 9-J, which is outside of the city. Each hunter had four additional doe tags, for a total of six, and hunted on approved property. Rockefeller said this is also a good program to start with to try controlling the city’s deer population.

Winand discussed how he has been a part of a group in northeastern Philadelphia for the past 25 years that has worked on controlling the deer population via bow hunting. He said urban deer management can be done, with one of the most important aspects being safety. He added hunting is one of the safest sports there is when it comes to the number of injuries. He said there are significantly more injuries in football or baseball compared to hunting.

Winand compared the amount of hunting injuries to how many incidents happen annually to people playing pool or billiards. He said a lot of nonhunters believe hunting is dangerous because whenever there is an injury, it’s given extra attention by the media.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said about hunting being dangerous.

Winand said one of the best ways to change people’s minds about hunting is to promote how much meat is on a deer and how it can be donated to food banks. He said each deer is equivalent to 220 McDonald’s quarter pounders.

“Feeding the hungry gets people to support hunting,” he said.

Tom Nelson, city Deer Ad Hoc Committee chairman, said for there to be a a bait and shoot program, the Jamestown City Council and Jamestown Police Department Chief Tim Jackson will have to approve the program. He said one of the main concerns is with a deer running after being hit by an arrow in a bait and shoot location on city park land, and going onto someone’s private property or into the street where it might be struck by a vehicle. He added one of the advantages of a bait and shoot program is they could find a location that is at least 100 yards from city streets or other people’s property.

Rockefeller said it’s possible to find an area for a bait and shoot program that is 100 yards from streets and other people’s private property. However, he said there is little control over how far a deer may run after being struck by an arrow.

“The risk for a damaged deer running 100 yards is always there,” he said.

Rockefeller said of the other bait and shoot programs in Western New York, the trained hunters are using firearms or crossbows.

“This is the major concern to draw deer from a township and kill them without them crossing borders,” he said.

In January, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced the creation of the Deer Ad Hoc Committee. The committee includes Nelson, Brent Sheldon, Ward 1 councilman, and city residents Matthew Larson, Robert Johnson and Matthew Timmerman.

Last November, the council discussed the proposal to have archers, who are licensed and approved for special bow hunting by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, have a controlled hunt on city-owned property – such as a public park – at designated times, with the public being notified in advanced. However, the program was never brought to a vote by the council, so it wasn’t approved.

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