The increasing white-tailed deer population has Pound Ridge town officials concerned over damage the animals are doing to the local environment.
While 12 to 15 deer per square mile is considered healthy, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that Westchester County has between 30 and 50 per square mile -- with a continuing annual growth rate of 40 percent.
Deer pose a threat to private landscaping and gardens and can spread Lyme disease. The Pound Ridge Conservation Board remains concerned about the animals' impact on area woods and wetlands, fearing many native flowers could be lost forever. Additionally, when deer eat seedlings, forests don't regenerate and soil absorbs less rainfall.
The swelling deer population is also affecting other species. As plants disappear, so do insects, reptiles, small mammals and migratory songbirds that rely on them for food.
The Pound Ridge Conservation Board has made a series of recommendations to reduce the deer herds. Only bow hunting is allowed in Westchester, but the board would like to see more controlled recreational hunting in which hunters would be required to take a doe before being issued a buck tag.
The board has also recommended bringing hunters and property owners together to expand hunting on private land.
The board would also like to see town land opened up for hunting and recommends petitioning the Department of Environmental Conservation to extend the hunting season to January.
What do you think should be done about the growing deer population? Comment below or on Facebook .
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