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Deer culling continues but not all Syracuse neighborhoods see the results

Three deer stand staring at the camera.
Ben Limle
/
Forest Service USDA
Three deer stand staring at the camera.

Deer are frequently seen in backyards and parks in the City of Syracuse and can cause issues for the community. This includes damaging local ecosystems and increasing the risk of tick-related disease.

Mayor Ben Walsh introduced his tick and deer management program in 2019, which includes culling deer in the winter. Ninety-two deer were removed from the city during this year’s four-month management period. But Syracuse Chief Policy Advisor Greg Loh said not everyone has seen the difference it has made.

"We hear mostly this is great, we see fewer deer. We still hear, from residents of the city on the east side, who report no change or a worsening in the condition," Loh said.

The USDA wildlife managers must follow certain protocols when removing deer from city neighborhoods. They have to be so many feet away from streets and where people live. Common Councilor Joe Driscoll said for this reason it can be hard to remove deer in densely populated parts of the city.

"It's really a challenge to get to some of these hardest hit neighborhoods on the east side, where it's densely populated, there's a lot of streets and a lot of residents around. Even though we got 92 this year, some of those areas will see an increase or have no effect until we can get some more sights set out, particularly around Nottingham High School area and the Near East side," Driscoll said.

In order to address the deer issues in these neighborhoods, the city may incorporate trapping or other measures that meet safety procedure. Greg Loh said some of the problems related to deer may take more time to resolve.

"We should not anticipate that the data over the past three years has yet begun to show us any reduction in tick encounters. It will take seven, ten years of effort, consistent, before we might see those kinds of developments," Loh said.

Residents are encouraged to report any public areas where they often see deer and educate themselves on tick-borne illnesses that come from deer.