Residents Pressure City To Address Deer Problem
The Jamestown City Council is considering options to solve its ongoing deer problem.
At a recent meeting, Robert Sisley, who has presented his concerns about the overwhelming deer population in Jamestown to the City Council more than once, warned that the nuisance problem could also cause health concerns.
“I’ve spoken to some doctors that have said that they’ve had more deer tick cases than they’ve ever had and more lime disease cases and it’s a problem,” he said.
Last year, a special committee was formed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist to provide the city with recommendations on how to handle the deer population. The committee recommended that certain archery hunters should engage in a controlled deer hunt to significantly reduce the city’s deer population; however, the City Council voted against the committee’s recommendation due to safety concerns and several changes that were made at the last minute.
Sisley believes the council’s vote was the result of members not having their questions fully answered in advance of last year’s vote. He recommended that if a committee presents a recommendation to the council this year, the City Council should have questions answered ahead of time.
“My suggestion is if they do form a committee, have questions before the committee so they can look into stuff,” he said. “Get questions early. Don’t ask at the last second. Get the questions first, not when they go to vote.”
Sisley said other cities have had success in implementing controlled hunting programs in the past. He believes Jamestown should follow the example of other cities and solve the problem as soon as possible.
“We’ve got a very bad deer problem in this city and we’ve got to take care of it,” he said. “You want a beautiful city, but you’re not taking the time to cure one of the problems. If you’re not one of the solutions, you’re part of the problem.”
Melissa Paterniti presented another concern about the deer problem in addition to nuisance and medical concerns.
“The deer actually are sick,” Paterniti said. “They’re lethargic. One deer had diarrhea on it. It’s not a good problem that way too.”
After listening to other residents share a variety of concerns to the City Council, Sisley asked if the council would respond to any of the concerns.
“You have us speak, but is there going to be done about any of the problems?” he asked. “Nobody’s addressed us back. Are they going to do anything about the deer this year?”
City Council President Anthony Dolce, R-Ward II, explained nothing has been decided since the committee handling the deer problem has not convened yet.
City Council members Andrew Faulkner, R-Ward VI, and Randall Daversa, R-At Large, are planning to reconvene the committee, consider what other cities have done to handle deer population issues and present the City Council with a proposal to handle the issue.
“Nothing’s going to happen until the deer season in the fall, even if decisions were made,” he said. “If we were going to do something, that would be the time to implement a program during the normal hunting season.”
The City Council explained a plan of some kind would most likely be voted on later in the year after Faulkner and Diversa are able to put together a proposal for the council to vote on.
Dolce told The Post-Journal that the deer problem has been growing over the past few years. He said while the problem is more pronounced in certain parts of the city, it is a widespread problem.
“Mostly on the south side and west side,” he said, “but certainly all over the city, even within the downtown area along the Chadakoin River area. There seems to be a number of city deer living within the city of Jamestown.”
Dolce acknowledged the problem is becoming worse and is causing city residents to become frustrated.
“We know that people are very concerned about the deer and very upset about the increasing number of deer within the city and some of the damage they’re doing to yards,” he said.
While the committee discusses different options, such as sterilization or a controlled deer hunt, Dolce encouraged the community to be patient so the City Council can ensure that whatever is ultimately proposed will be safe and effective.
“It’s a complex problem,” he said. “There’s less hunters, people are hunting less today. Jamestown is a perfect haven for deer living in the city. We have a lot of green space, we have a lot of park land, there’s a lot of food sources, and there’s no natural predators within the city. They’re increasing within the city limits because there’s nothing really to stop them.”
As a result, Dolce said whatever plan is implemented will probably be required on a yearly basis.
Dolce also said the likelihood of the City Council approving a program would depend on what the committee proposes and how effective the program would be.
As the community waits for the City Council to reach a decision, Dolce suggested citizens can be diligent by refraining from feeding the deer and ensuring there is not an easy food source available to them in the city.