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Deer population in Yarmouth challenging problem for council

While some people try to draw wild deer to their yards by feeding them, others are upset at the damage they cause to their shrubs and gardens in town.
While some people try to draw wild deer to their yards by feeding them, others are upset at the damage they cause to their shrubs and gardens in town. - Carla Allen

Expert invited to discuss means of control

YARMOUTH - The Town of Yarmouth is inviting a Department of Natural Resources expert to speak about the deer population in town.

The feeding of wildlife was on the Town of Yarmouth’s Feb. 22 committee of the whole agenda, but the discussion morphed from how to stop the feeding of geese and ducks into the larger problem of deer roaming the streets and destroying gardens.

The establishment of a bylaw forbidding the feeding of problem animals was not a popular option with council because of the difficulty in enforcement.

Councillir Sandy Dennis said that in 2015 the Town of Truro cracked down on a homeowner who had been feeding deer in her backyard over the winter months by issuing a $233.95 ticket for violating the town's bylaw governing feeding wild birds and animals.

“Deer also carry ticks and parasites which your own animals can catch from them,” Dennis said.

Mayor Pam Mood agreed. “People keep feeding these animals which practically renders them helpless in the wild because they’re so used to being fed and it just causes harm.”

CAO Jeff Gushue provided the suggestion that resulted in an approved motion to bring in a deer expert to talk about solutions.

“I don’t know how much of your deer population is a result of feeding or how much is the result of an exploding deer population generally,’ he said.

“I don’t think the first deer to come into town came in because someone was holding a carrot. I think they came into town because there are lots of them.”

He put forward the idea of quizzing a deer expert on how they manage the population. “What are their estimates of the population (in the wild), what is their goal and how do they manage the hunt?

“The most effective way of controlling species is by a hunt. It’s a game animal that many people enjoy.”

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