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Articles Volunteers Ready to Help Deer Birth Control Program in Hastings, NY
Volunteers Ready to Help Deer Birth Control Program in Hastings, NY
The village’s plan to isolate and inoculate its deer population to prevent breeding has more than 60 citizen volunteers willing to help document where the animals walk.
Mayor Peter Swiderski said volunteers would begin their training in the next month or so to use spreadsheets, diaries and Microsoft Word documents to track how many deer they see and where they go.
It’s the first piece of a multiyear plan to try to control a population of 70 to 120 deer that overgraze woods, destroying gardens and causing vehicle accidents in the two-mile-square village, he said. Once the deer population is tracked, professionals will capture them and inoculate them with a birth control drug beginning in February.
“Over 60 people have signed up and we’re beginning to organize into groups,” Swiderski said. “They’ll keep a log book across the village and then ... get (the information) into a Google map showing you where the (herds) are.”
The plan to use birth control on the deer has the approval of the state Department of Environmental Protection. It also has the attention of several other New York and at least one New Jersey community watching to see if it works.
Once the animals are inoculated, the village will see if there’s any change: About 30 people will put out pots of plants that deer like to see how many of them are eaten; police reports on deer strikes will be collected to see if the number decreases; patches of forest will be cordoned off with deer netting to see if they begin to grow back.
Success will be determined by the results over the next five or six years, Swiderski said.
“What we’re doing has never been done or it’s been done with very, very basic” number-gathering, the mayor said. “We’re trying to grab the metrics of stuff we can track. Does (the inoculation) bring down the population? Does it matter? If we’re paying $8,000 a year, is there a difference in people’s lives? The only way to figure that out is by gathering the metrics. We want publishable results that will tell us and other communities whether this works.”
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