Special hunting season underway around Ithaca to reduce high deer population

A special hunting season is underway to reduce the deer population around the city of Ithaca.

State wildlife conservation experts tell local media outlets that the 19-day season that began last Saturday and runs through Jan. 31 is an effort to reduce Tompkins County's average of 40 to 50 deer per square mile. The officials say the average should be about 20 deer per square mile.

During the special season, registered hunters can shoot two antlerless deer per day using a shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun or bow. Hunters must still comply with all state trespassing laws, as well as all local ordinances governing the discharge of firearms.

Officials hope cutting back the deer population will lessen crop damage at local farms and reduce the potential for vehicle collisions with deer.

You may remember, in September 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation established a special "deer managment focus area" that includes 60,000 acres in and around the City of Ithaca. The village of Cayuga Heights was especially overcrowded with deer.