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Central NY legislators say DEC needs more flexibility to issue deer culling permits

Central New York state legislators have introduced a bill that would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation more flexibility with issuing deer control permits. This comes after DEC officials determined they were steering too far away from the current law. 

David Skeval of Cornell Coorperative Extension of Onondaga County said after an internal review at the DEC, officials realized their process of issuing deer culling permits is cumbersome, and also not following environmental law.

“It’s not so much that the DEC said, we’re going to change our minds and our law," Skeval said. "They’re not changing the law, they are trying to follow it a little closer. Did the DEC have the latitude to allow those exceptions? No, they didn't. They're just trying to do their due diligence.”

Current restrictions do not allow deer management to take place within 300 feet of a public road and 500 feet of another property.

Those rules are especially problematic to deer management plans in Syracuse, Fayetteville and other communities in Onondaga County.

Central New York Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter and Republican state Sen. John DeFrancisco have both introduced bills to amend the law.

“And make it clear that the DEC has the authority to provide the flexibility needed to resolve these types of situations,” DeFrancisco said.

Deer management plans have become more popular in central New York over the last few years to reduce car accidents and the ticks that spread Lyme disease.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.