Published: Sep 25, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Sep 25, 2012 06:08 PM
CHAPEL HILL - The Town Council took no action on a proposed ban on feeding deer Monday.
Staff will now update the towns website with information about how feeding deer can harm the animals and public health.
The issue came up in January when resident Margaret Heath asked the council to consider a ban, similar to one that Carrboro enacted in November.
I think the ordinance will lead more people to act responsibly, be better stewards of wildlife, and it will help with their concerns about too many deer, Heath said in an email. A lot of people might not have considered feeding deer to be harmful to deer, the ecology and to people. Yet feeding deer inadvertently promotes the very problems that have been blamed on deer.
However, town staff were concerned that police officers would have to enforce a ban, taking them away from more serious matters. Staff also were concerned about putting officers in the middle of neighborhood disputes.
Kendra Mammone, founder and executive director of the CLAWS Inc. wildlife rehabilitation group, also told the council Monday that providing food doesnt help deer.
Feeding deer or any wildlife in your back yard is not necessary in North Carolina, she said. We have an abundance of food here.
She also pointed out that a biting fly is causing hemorraghic disease in deer, and wildlife officials expect it to kill roughly half the states deer population.
N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission officials estimate that Orange County has 30 to 44 deer per square mile.
WRC officials say too many deer to one area can spread diseases more easily. Deer that lose their fear of humans also wander closer to homes and into traffic, and pose a major public health risk from ticks that transmit diseases to humans, officials say.
Carrboros deer-feeding ordinance bans residents from putting out fruits, vegetables, salt and other food for deer on private property. The law does not apply to natural vegetation, crops or feeders used for domestic animals or livestock. Offenders who dont remove illegal food or feeding devices within 48 hours face a $25 fine.
Carrboro animal control Officer Robert Nekoranec said he has only issued one fine since it went into effect but voided the ticket after the resident removed the food.
The aldermen also considered allowing an urban bow hunt but rejected that idea in favor of more public education.
Chapel Hill residents have been able to hunt deer with a bow and arrow on private propery for years. In January 2011, the town joined the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commissions Urban Archery Program. This spring, Chapel Hill bow hunters bagged three young bucks and seven does during the one-month Urban Archery season.
This years regular bow-hunting season runs from Sept. 8 to Jan. 1, while the Urban Archery Program runs Jan. 12 to Feb. 16.
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