Cayuga Heights deer problem takes center stage Wednesday

Standing-room only at a meeting about the deer problem in Cayuga Heights / photo by Caitlin Nuclo

Dozens of people spoke Wednesday morning at public hearing on a controversial plan to control the deer population in Cayuga Heights.

A proposed change to a local law in the village would authorize a marksman to shoot and kill deer in an attempt to control the population. A copy of the proposed change can be read by clicking here.

The small village is just outside of Ithaca. It covers about two square miles, but is home to up to 200 deer. The village is aiming to get the population down to 40.

"That's160 deer. It's unlikely that would be implemented in a single year. The plan is described as a phased option approach taking place over the course of a number of years," said Mayor Kate Supron.

The public hearing was standing-room only, and some people were even pushed into the hallway. About 45 people spoke. A handful of them do support the deer remediation plan. But most who spoke were opposed to the plan, saying their biggest concern, aside from killing deer, is the safety of residents. Some are worried about gunfire and stray bullets in the village.

"I t's not necessary, it's going to divide our village and it involves bringing violence into our peaceful neighborhoods," said James Laveck.

"Houses are within close proximity of eachother, and then when you think about teenagers going through the woods, they're not going to stay on trails. Children could end up in the line of fire. i feel it's my responsibility to take a stand," said I Valesky.

The village says landowners have to give permission for a marksman to come on their property to shoot the deer, otherwise they would not be able to come within 500 feet.

Even those who are concerned about the use of guns, say something has to be done about the deer. "There are just too many of them, the amount of property damage they've done is appalling," said Pete Bottorff.

This is the latest proposal in an effort to control the deer population in Cayuga Heights. The village has been addressing the problem for years. A vote on the proposed law is scheduled for the next board meeting, January 9th.

What do you think about the proposal? Should the village look to kill more than 100 deer to control to population?