ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They're seeking answers in the village of Orchard Park, where some feel deer are over-running their community and demanding action to stem more deer/car collisions and loss of vegetation.
Village Resident Hillary Ruh says "there's too many deer. We have deer eating all of our plants throughout the summer and the wintertime. I'm concerned about people being killed in their car."
Insurance experts point out that even if there isn't a significant injury, there is significant damage.The average deer weights 150 pounds or more, and the average claim is $4,000 or more. In some cases the damaged car is written off as a loss.
Other village residents like Valerie Will feel it's a balancing act between nature and civilization. She doesn't want the deer hurt or hunted, even though some communities like Amherst have in the past turned to controversial bait and shoot to cull the herd.
"Like having bow hunting or something like that because that's such a cruel thing," she said. "But basically because I've lived there 50 years, and this is the first year I've ever had deer eat my plants."
There is a strong feeling that it's getting out of balance in some ways, but for the village, there are limited options, according to Mayor Jo Ann Litwin Clinton.
"You cannot discharge a firearm in the village so obviously no hunting and because of the increased vegetation and so forth I think that it's a very attractive for the deer," the mayor said.
The village board did bring in a DEC biologist for its public meeting to run through some deer control options. But they appeared to have very limited success and a contraception option to trap and vaccinate does is expensive. So Mayor Litwin Clinton says in the meantime they may advise residents on backyard landscaping to deter deer. "Hopefully we'll talk about vegetation to stay away from or not make the habitat so attractive."
Some residents may still press for action with petitions for the village board to come up with a deer control policy.