CHADRON – The Chadron City Council has adopted a management plan for deer inside the Chadron city limits that calls for city police officers to reduce the deer population by killing them, starting with deer that appear to be suffering from Chronic Wasting Disease.
Deer in Chadron have always been a nuisance, but are a growing problem with the estimated population within a 7-square mile area centered on Chadron up about 50% over the last 3 year to 330 last year.
The plan is based on using an existing Nebraska Game and Parks program that provided special permits to help farmers and ranchers who are suffering significant crop and feed losses to deer and elk. City Manager Greg Yanker told the council Monday night that the goal is to start removing ill deer as quickly as possible.
Police Chief Tim Lordino said it will likely take about 2 weeks to get all the logistics worked out and begin eliminating sick deer. The animals will be taken only on city-owned land unless permission is given by a private landowner.
The plan itself drew little discussion last night, but what would happen to the meat from the deer that are killed did. Yanker said the process is already laid out by Game and Parks with the goal of making deer from healthy deer available to the public.
Councilman Mark Werner expressed concerns about requiring meat receipients to be responsible for field-dressing the deer, how long that might take, and what would happen if capable recipients weren’t available. Yanker said while the goal is to not waste the meat, it might not be possible to prevent in all cases.
Yanker also said that alternatives to killing deer – such as trapping and relocating them, giving does contraceptives, or herding deer out of town – were all rejected for logistical reasons such as cost, the fear of further spreading CWD, ineffectiveness, and liability issues.
Mayor Miles Bannan said many citizens had talked to him about the deer plan since it was unveiled a month ago and most were satisfied with it.
Last month’s discussion included passing a city ordinance to stop residents from either intentionally or unintentionally feeding deer, and that remains a possibility.
Chief Lordino said at that time that some residents who like having the deer visit their homes and yards put out food for them, while others wind up doing much the same by leaving hay in fields for extended periods or not picking fallen apples in their yards