View Full Version : WI: Waupun council will consider deer feeding ban

Bob S
02-25-2009, 05:34 PM
ARTICLE (http://www.fdlreporter.com/article/20090225/FON0101/90225067/1985)

Hiring sharpshooters is an option

By Colleen Kottke • The Reporter • February 25, 2009

WAUPUN — For seven years, Dan McGurk has carefully tended the small forest of 500 evergreens growing at Rens Nursery, his Waupun-based business.

The payback for his efforts was supposed to come this year when McGurk dug the six-foot trees and sold them to area customers. However, a marauding band of hungry, white-tailed deer has wiped out the return on his investment.

“In just three days they destroyed every tree; seven years of work was gone,” said McGurk, estimating his loss at nearly $60,000. “It happened back in January when we had the ice on top of the snow and the deer were unable to get to their natural food. I’ve been here 35 years and this has never happened before.”

Several Waupun residents spoke up Tuesday night at the Common Council meeting to share similar stories of deer damage to their landscaping. Due to widespread reports of wildlife damage, the council will revisit the ordinance banning the feeding of deer when it meets next month on March 10.

Back in November, the council voted against the recommended feeding ban ordinance, saying it was unenforceable. Resident Wayne Verhage was initially against the feeding ban. However, he has changed his mind since.

“I thought the problem was due to the unusual winter we had last year. But now there’s more damage than ever. While I don’t think the feeding ban will solve the problem we have to start somewhere,” Verhage said. “Maybe we need to look at a controlled hunt within the city limits to get rid of some of the deer.”

Most reports of deer damage in the city have come from residents living along the Rock River on the north side of the city. The dense growth along the waterway provides a perfect winter habitat for the deer herd which numbers between 40 and 60 animals.

Sylvia Schramm who lives near the river said the deer have become so tame that she is unable to scare them out of her backyard. The animals have eaten her arborvitae trees, raspberry bushes and her hosta plants.

“We’ve tried wrapping our plants, putting up fences and using products to deter the deer, but it hasn’t done any good,” Schramm said.

While feeding and baiting deer is prohibited on the Dodge County side of the city due to the Chronic Wasting Disease zone, the same is not true across the county line in Fond du Lac County. State law allows residents to put out no more than two gallons of feed for wildlife at any given time. The ordinance, if passed, would ban residents from setting out feeding stations in yards.

“A feeding ban won’t get results right away but it’s the first step in dealing with the problem,” said USDA wildlife specialist Rich Christian.

Police Chief Dale Heeringa said there is some funding available through the DNR for abatement programs to control urban deer populations.

“I don’t think we’re at the shooting stage yet, but right now we’re at the point of being reactive instead of proactive,” Heeringa said.

Need help?
Residents interested in information on controlling wildlife damage should contact the Waupun-based USDA office at 324-4514.