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City of Syracuse to begin reducing deer population this week

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

The City of Syracuse says wildlife managers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct deer-management activities in the city beginning this week of Dec. 2. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Wildlife managers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week will start work on diminishing the overgrown deer population in the City of Syracuse, using professional sharpshooters.

The city is undertaking “targeted removal” of deer in response to public health and safety concerns, the office of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said in a news release.

The USDA will conduct its work through the month of March. Syracuse is one of five municipalities in Onondaga County completing deer damage management with the USDA this winter.

In preparation for beginning the program, the city is issuing a frequently asked question sheet, “What Syracuse residents should know about Deer Damage Management.”

The sheet is available at https://ourcity.syrgov.net/2019/12/deer-management-faq/ or by calling the Syracuse Parks Department at (315) 473-4330.

About the program

The program’s purpose is to address the impact of deer overpopulation on deer-vehicle accidents; parks, gardens, and the ecosystem; and public health risks, such as Lyme Disease, per the release.

Sites meeting “strict” New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) criteria have been identified on the east, west and south sides of the city, Walsh’s office said.

All of the locations are on large private and city-owned properties. The USDA personnel will only access DEC-permitted sites where property owners have provided “explicit written permission” to do so.

 The sites are required to be at least 500 feet from any occupied dwelling. All sites are either private or closed to public access when the work is conducted.

Specially trained USDA wildlife managers will conduct their sharpshooting work only at night, between the hours of dusk to dawn. They will utilize infrared goggles and noise-suppression devices.

No wildlife-management officer should be accessing private property without permission, Walsh’s office said. Residents should call 911 if they see suspicious activity on public or private property.

Deer-management plans were developed in coordination with the USDA, DEC, Onondaga County Office of the Environment, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County, 5th district Common Councilor Joe Driscoll and the Syracuse Common Council, and the Syracuse Police Department.

Walsh earlier this year appointed a citizens advisory group to develop a tick and deer-management plan in the city. Syracuse Common Council unanimously approved the program in June.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com