City Discusses How to Reduce its Deer Population

City Discusses How to Reduce its Deer Population

Rock Springs resident Sharrie Paoli speaks to the Council about all the deer problems she has been having. SweetwaterNOW photo by Stephanie Thompson

ROCK SPRINGS — During the Rock Springs City Council meeting tonight, the city discussed ways to control its deer population. One resident fed up with the increase in deer activity asked the Council to figure out a way to decrease the city’s deer population. 

Under presentations, the Council listened to a short presentation on deer regulations from Wyoming Game and Fish representative Andy Roosa, who spoke briefly to the Council about ways to decrease the city’s deer population.

Roosa said he was speaking about a rule under chapter 56, which would require the city to create a new ordinance. If the ordinance is approved, then the city would be authorized to remove a certain number of deer. Game and Fish would not participate in that removal, it would be up to the city, Roosa said.

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Most towns try to get a deer count prior to deer removal so they can create an estimate on how many deer they want to remove. According to Roosa, getting an estimate on how many deer are within city limits could be tough because of how spread out Rock Springs is. He said deer can also not be removed on private property.

Under the program, deer must be taken in the most humane way possible, which would be through a firearm, he said. All of the deer would need to be field dressed and donated for consumption and all antlers must be given to the Game and Fish for disposal. He said this is the basic outline on legal deer removal permits if the city would decide to go that route.

“I’m looking at options other than putting them down. I’m trying to see if there are better options available,” Councilor Rob Zotti said. 

Zotti said he had heard about a shot that someone can shoot into a deer’s hip that will control their fertility. 

Roosa said he hasn’t completed a lot of research on that particular method, however from what he’s heard and read it hasn’t been very effective.

Councilor Keaton West said he believes a lot of the deer are making their way into town in search of food and water because of the drought. Plus, some residents have been feeding and watering them, which only encourages more deer to move into town.

Regardless of whether anything is done or not, Roosa said they are always going to be deer running around. He said the city can’t eliminate them all, more will just come in. 

Roosa said they could open up city limits for hunting licenses, but he didn’t know how many residents would be interested in this route. Also, he didn’t think having licenses used within city limits would be the best way to go about decreasing the population. 

Resident Complaint

Resident Sharrie Paoli, who lives on Hillcrest Drive, said the deer population has continued to increase yearly starting about seven to 10 years ago. She said over the years, the deer have made their homes in Rock Springs. Then they have multiplied and taught their offspring to do the same. 

“This year it’s horrendous,” Paoli said. “I can’t keep them out of the backyard.”

Paoli said she’s tried just about everything she can think of to deter the deer, such as sprays, pellets, water, loud noise, and throwing rocks at them and nothing seems to work. 

Roosa said the there are a lot of ways to deter deer, but those don’t appear to work in the long term and some don’t work at all. What he has heard that has the most success is motion-sensored sprinklers or spraying them with a hose.

She said they have not only destroyed her yard, fence, flowers, apple trees, and grass, but have threatened her dog. Paoli said she can’t let her dog go in the backyard to go to the bathroom because she’s afraid it will get attacked. She wanted to know who is going to pay for all the damages to her yard. 

“I love deer. I love animals, but not in my yard,” Paoli said. 

However, while Paoli wants the deer population taken care of she isn’t in favor of culling them in town. She asked if they could tranquilize the deer and then cull them. 

Roosa said under a culling program the meat must be donated for food. If a tranquilizer is used, then they can’t use the meat. 

Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo said he knows there is a deer problem in town, however a lot of it comes from people watering and feeding them. He said while the city looks at possible solutions to the deer problem, they should enforce current ordinances most strictly in regards to feeding wildlife.