West Seneca could thin out deer population

West Seneca could thin out deer population
Posted at 10:02 AM, Feb 13, 2016

The number of complaints about deer in West Seneca is on the rise right now. The Town Supervisor says she has received about eight complaints a week recently about damaged caused by deer in parts of West Seneca.

The Town Board has decided to take action. It voted this week for the town's police chief to research plans to decrease the population.

Police Chief Daniel Denz has been instructed to work with the DEC to formulate a potential plan. Denz has discussed decreasing the deer population with the DEC before, and also plans to contact nearby municipalities that have thinned the herd.

"We are going to study this at length, before we have any boots on the ground to start an actual program," Denz told 7 Eyewitness News.

Denz said that every option is on the table. According to the early stages of his research, DEC typically has three strategies for thinning deer herds: a regulated hunt, an open hunt or a bait and shoot program. Due to residential areas in West Seneca, the bait and shoot program would be the most likely.

"Just because people have them standing in their backyard in a subdivision doesn't mean where there's a lot of houses and people and just stand in someone's backyard and start shooting," Denz said. "This has to do with how do we move the deer out of the populated areas of town into the not so populated?"

The chief stressed that he still has a lot of research to do. Just a few of the questions include sorting through property rights if deer targeted to shoot are on someone's land, public safety, how many would be killed and how the program would be pulled off.

Denz emphasized that he wants to get a sense of how the entire community feels about the program before making a decision.

"This can really get into a community firestorm," he said.

Denz also said that while some may consider the deer more of a nuisance, there have not been surges in deer-related crashes or major property from the animals lately. The town has seen approximately 180 deer-related collisions each year for the past 10 years, and is on course for the same trend in 2016.

The police chief says he cannot guarantee this program will happen. If it does, it most likely would not take place for another six months to a year.