Photo submitted by Jeff Maniace.
There's been enough talk about the deer problem in Batavia, Councilman John Canale said during Tuesday's Batavia City Council meeting after a local resident said he's been chased by a buck in his own yard during public comments.
"Forming another committee isn't going to do anything," Canale said. "We've done this before. We form a committee and the committee studies the issue and makes a recommendation and then there's no action."
It's time for action, he said.
Councilman Paul Viele's suggestion: A controlled kill. It's time, he said, to start thinning the herds that encroach on the city.
Russell Nephew, a Bank Street resident, said there's a large herd that hangs out at that end of town, in the farm fields between Genesee Community College and the city line and enter on residential property, destroying landscaping and leaving their droppings in local yards, and perhaps carrying tics that are a danger to dogs and humans.
"Those things are disheartening and I’ve put up with them but now I’ve got chased through my backyard by a deer," Nephew said. "It reared up and I got away from it luckily. A couple of days later, my 70-year-old neighbor got ran into her apartment from a parking lot. At any one time, there can be from six to 10 deer that run through there."
A resident from Avon spoke up during the council discussion and said that in Avon they've instituted a bait-and-shoot program that has rules, is regulated, and is helping reduce the herd size.
Council President Eugene Jankowski pointed out that any deer killed would have the meat from the animal donated to a food pantry in the region to help feed low-income residents.
He also blamed the growing herd sizes on fewer hunters in New York. He said more people are giving up hunting as a protest against New York's increasingly restrictive gun laws.
While council members seemed to favor some culling effort, no specific plan was approved at Tuesday's meeting.
Noah Toal submitted this photo today of a piebald deer in Oakfield, across from The Oak Grill and Cafe.
A herd of deer makes its way from one side of Edgewood Drive to the other -- a common sight on that Town of Batavia street -- around 5 this afternoon. Photo by Mike Pettinella.
The City Council agreed by consent Monday night to move forward with a recommendation to create a task force to study what to do to with the local deer population.
There are no specific recommendations now, but council members agreed it's an issue the city needs to take a closer look at.
"I took a walk out there last fall and there is a swath of damage as wide as a street through the woods and meandering through people's property taking care of all their landscaping," said Council President Eugene Jankowski. "There's a path of dead vegetation all the way out to the edge of the city."
City Manager Jason Molino is expected to present a plan for creating a task force and providing it with directions on the scope and timing of its work.
Deer are causing damage in Batavia and residents say the problem is as bad as they can ever remember it, but that doesn't mean a solution will be easy to find.
DEC Biologist Art Kirsch led a two-hour meeting on the issue Wednesday night, but offered no clear answers and said it could take years for Batavia to thin its deer herd to a less destructive level.
City Manager Jason Molino agreed.
"We've got the right folks at the state level to help us," Molino said. "We've just got to get the right folks in the community to participate and try to come up with a solution. Unfortunately, the solution isn't a cookie-cutter solution and I don't think the time frame is either. I don't think what anyone can predict what type of obstacles we might receive in the process."
Several residents told of the problems they face, including Gus Galliford.
"We're concerned about the deer just ravaging our property," Galliford said. "They're coming in numbers we've never seen before. I built my house 25 years ago and lived in the neighborhood all that time, but after this past spring, they're just destroying the whole thing."
The deer have cost his family thousands and thousands of dollars, Galliford said.
Kirsch said an overpopulation of deer are a problem on at least three levels: ecological damage, car accidents and transmission of disease.
His best suggestions for now: fencing, repellents, and fertility control.
Molino suggested the city may need to set up a committee to study the issue and recommend a solution.
Reporting for story provided by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA AM/FM.
Stephen Edmonds was driving his Genesee ARC trash pick up route this morning on Ross Street when he spotted this deer and snapped this picture for us.
Early Saturday morning, Alexis Aratari surprised herself by killing her first buck -- and then surprised herself further when she discovered that it was a 10-point deer.
"It was really shocking," she says. "My heart was going about a mile a minute."
The feat, which is impressive for anyone of any age, was even more incredible in Alexis's case due to the fact that she has only been hunting for two years.
"It's really rare to have girl hunters, especially teenagers, get that big of a buck," the 16-year-old explains. "So it was really lucky that my first buck was a 10-pointer. It was beginner's luck."
Alexis, who goes out hunting every day during the season, says that she spotted the buck at around 8:30 Saturday morning. When she shot at it with her bow, it dropped right away. Her father, Mike Aratari, who was in a tree on the other side of the field, had seen the buck earlier and hoped that she would get it.
"We both thought it was just a six- or eight-pointer," Alexis said. "When he heard the shot, he yelled for me to stay up in the tree and he looked at it and told me it was a 10-pointer. I couldn't believe it."
"Now he says he has to try to top it," she laughs. "He's been hunting for 20 years, and he's only gotten two 10-pointers."
Hunting is clearly in Alexis's blood. Along with her father, her uncle and aunt also enjoy the pastime.
"All my family is really proud," she says. "We sent them all pictures, and my uncle in Florida has been telling everyone about it."
So what exactly will become of the massive buck?
"We're sending it to get mounted, and we're going to put it up on the wall next to my dad's 10-pointer," she says with a grin.