Deer pose ‘a genuine problem’ to town

Published 1:28 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Town officials are looking for answers to solve what they call “a genuine problem” — the increasing population of deer in Farmville’s town limits.

“I’ve had at least a half a dozen people in the last month mention the deer problem. The D-E-E-R problem,” Mayor David Whitus said during Farmville Town Council’s Wednesday, Nov. 2, work session. He said one resident told him she had 15 deer in her yard recently.

“From the time I started at 7 a.m. until I got back over here next to the National Guard Armory, I counted 34 deer — all inside the town limits of Farmville,” said At-Large Councilman Tom Pairet.

Gerald Spates

Gerald Spates

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Whitus said it’s like the town’s become “a sanctuary” for the animals.

“Everybody likes them, but, I tell you, it’s going to lead to some problems if we’re not careful,” Pairet said.

Whitus responded that it already has.

Town Manager Gerald Spates said his office receives many complaints about deer.

The Urban Archery Season, according to Spates, starts Sept. 1 and runs into March, allowing bow hunting of deer in specific areas of town.

“Anybody can come in … if they can get permission from the landowner,” Spates said after the meeting. “The issue that we don’t want is, like if you live in the Avenues … and your next-door neighbor … you don’t want somebody coming over and shooting a deer in your yard and it go over in somebody else’s yard and … dies.”

He said the town restricts the archery areas to those “that are not so heavily populated.”

“I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s a genuine problem,” Pairet said during the meeting.

Whitus asked Spates to check with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for solutions.

“I know you’re getting complaints from some people, but wait until the other side comes to season,” Spates said, referring to the deer potentially being destroyed. “They’re going to be a little bit more vocal.”

“Please do not shoot within the city limits,” Thompson said.

David Whitus

David Whitus

“That’s why you have the Urban Archery Season,” Spates said after the meeting. “There’s some new laws on the books that prohibit people from feeding wildlife, and I think that’s the key to all of it is, you know, you do have some residents that like to feed animals. And that’s what’s creating a lot of the problem in some of these residential neighborhoods.”

People shouldn’t feed the animals, he said.

“I think the deer population is a problem everywhere. It’s just not here. When they start eating people’s flowers, that’s when they get (upset),” Spates said.