JAMESTOWN – People flocking to the National Comedy Center aren’t the only tourists hitting the streets of Jamestown lately.
City streets and byways are being blanketed with an influx of whitetail deer and there was even a report several weeks ago of a bear meandering on Crescent Street.
The urban deer problem seems to be growing and there are people on both sides of proposed solutions. Some favor a special urban bow season to harvest some of the deer. Others have proposed having the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation trap and relocate the deer.
Jamestown City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo discussed the urban deer population with WNYNewsNow recently.
“I just put out a feeler to see if the city residents felt there was a deer problem or if there wasn’t a deer problem. I really don’t have an opinion one way or the other because my purpose was just to see if this was something we needed to be involved in or if it was something, because if the people think the deer are not a problem then there is no problem there’s nothing to address,” Liuzzo said.
He cautioned that well-intentioned people who feed the deer coming onto the property are not only breaking the law, but are actually hurting the deer they feed.
“It is against the law to feed deer and if people get caught feeding deer, they may get a warning the first time by the Conservation Department, and then they’ll be fined heavily,” Liuzzo said. “It’s against the law to feed deer and even though there a lot of people who love the deer, you are not helping the deer, you are making them dependent on us and if they go into the wild they may not have the skills to survive, so we’re not really helping them by feeding the deer.”
Recently, the City Council had DEC representatives address the issue at a Council meeting. Liuzzo said about 15 to 18 people addressed the issue at the meeting.
“There was probably 15 to 18 residents that were there who expressed some concern and consternation about the deer, unfortunately there wasn’t anybody who supported leaving the deer alone. So, their views weren’t really represented at the meeting,” he said.
DEC officials said there is an overpopulation of deer and will issue 18,600 doe permits for region 9-J, Liuzzo noted.
“The DEC did make clear that this particular area, not the city exclusively, but the whole area 9-J, which is the designation of the farmlands and woodlands that surround Jamestown, that there is an overpopulation of deer. That can cause sickness.”
The higher number of doe permits indicates the DEC believes there is a problem with overpopulation.
“And how does that effect the city? I don’t think that the deer in the city are living in the city. I think what they do is come into the city and then they go back out into the woods,” Liuzzo said. “Then they come into the city and back into the woods because I think there is competition for food and that’s why they’re coming in and if the harvest this season is significant there’s a good possibility some of these deer will not come back into the city.”