Residents share opinions about deer in Green River
People speaking before the Green River City Council about the city’s resident deer herd were just as divided as the results from the city-issued deer survey results.
Tuesday night, residents shared opinions ranging from living with the deer to culling and controlling the population in town.
One of the residents who has made peace with the deer is Patsy Sorensen, who also sat on the city’s working group focused on the deer.
A resident of the city for the past 30 years, Sorensen, like others talking to the council, said they didn’t initially have to deal with deer. However, as the years passed, more and more deer started coming into her yard and eating plants. Having tried many methods of discouraging the deer, including changing which plants she grew and applying a homemade spray on her plants, Sorensen said she made peace with the deer after discovering an electronic device that repels deer. While she admits people in the nearby park can hear it, Sorensen said she hasn’t had problems with deer since purchasing the device to protect her back garden.
Howard Hart, a resident since 1970, also believes in leaving the deer alone.
“The deer are not in our backyard, we’re in their backyard,” Hart said.
He researched the costs associated with the City of Sheridan’s deer culling program. According to research he presented, the city spent $6,000 in 2012 for processing deer meat alone, citing that the city program resulted in 94 deer being killed, an additional four being wounded with one of those animals getting away.
Hart’s concerns also aligned with the police department spearheading a hypothetical culling program. given current scrutiny given to law enforcement across the country, Hart said if he were in Police Chief Chris Steffen’s shoes, he wouldn’t want his department handing the program in case something went wrong while an officer was attempting to kill a deer.
However, there are also residents who would like to see the city cull or sterilize female deer and reduce their numbers.
Laurie Lewis, another member of the working group, would like to see deer numbers decrease within Green River and believes the city should take on a culling and sterilization program.
“I just don’t feel like deer belong in town,” she said.
Lewis said deer have charged people and cited instances where vehicles have collided with deer crossing Green River’s streets. She also said she’s aware of instances where children have chased deer and dogs have been trampled.
Another resident believing the city should take action against the deer is Robert Earl. Earl, who lives near Whalen Butte Road, said the deer numbers have slowly increased to a point where he now has roughly 10 deer routinely congregating on his property. Earl said he’s tried growing different plants to dissuade the animals from going to his property and said his wife has experienced how aggressive they can be, claiming they charged her while she was on their front deck.
“If it happens again, I’ll probably go to jail because I’ll shoot a deer,” he said.