Public to give input on city’s deer-reduction plan

A public forum on a proposal to use sharpshooters in a plan to reduce the size of the local deer population will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 14. The deer population has risen in the last few years because of a lack of predators.


November 2017 file photo. (Jared Krauss for the Daily Iowan)

Some of the deer in the Iowa City area may face a death sentence, and the public will have a chance to weigh in.

A public forum on the city of Iowa City’s proposal to use sharpshooters in a deer-reduction plan will take place on Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The meeting will include members of the City Deer Population Management Committee and Tony Denicola, the founder and president of White Buffalo Inc.

Animal Services Supervisor Liz Ford said that earlier in the spring, the city began the process for seeking approval from the Natural Resources Council for an urban deer-reduction plan. Part of the process includes the city providing an opportunity for public input.

Ford said that last winter, the city contracted White Buffalo Inc. to do a count of the deer population in the area, and nothing has been completed in terms of going through with the deer-reduction plan.

A packet presented to the City Council on Feb. 15 said the survey, conducted in January, showed numbers three times higher than the deer population was when a sharpshooting program was put into place in 2000, also conducted by White Buffalo.

White Buffalo said in the packet that there are no longer predators in the area to keep the deep population in check and the next likely occurrence will be disease in the species.

The city has previously contracted with White Buffalo from 2000-2009. Deer-population numbers were reported to be at a “reasonable level,” and another contract was not sought in the winter of 2010.

A spreadsheet from city police Public Information Officer Derek Frank showed that the number of deer-related accidents from 2005-2018.

From 2005-2015, deer-related accidents stayed consistent at around 30 per year in the Iowa City area. In 2016, the number jumped to 51 such accidents, and 2017 had 49. Through the end of the June, there have been 18 deer-related accidents this year.

2005-2018 deer accidents

However, so far this year, there have been no injuries from deer-related incidents, and in 2017, there were only two injuries, classified in the spreadsheet as “minor injuries.”

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