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Fayetteville Village Board unanimously votes for bait-and-cull deer management program

Tom Magnarelli
A public meeting held in October on the deer management program proposal in the village of Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville Village Board voted unanimously in favor of a bait-and-cull program to control their deer population. The three month trial program will begin December 23.
Although there are residents for and against the measure that calls for the killing of deer, Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson said there is agreement that deer overpopulation is a problem in the area and has been for many years.

“This is a way to deal with that, which will in effect hopefully reduce the deer car accidents, will hopefully reduce the tick Lyme disease, will hopefully reduce the damage to the landscaping,” Olson said.

Olson admitted that suburban sprawl has contributed to the problem.

"We've moved into the territory, we've built houses and residential units and we've taken away some of their natural habitat," Olson said. "We've done some damage and now this is our chance to help restore some of that balance back."

Volunteers who participate in the bait-and-cull program will use bows and arrows to shoot deer from specific areas. Critics of the plan say it can be cruel to deer if they are injured and suffer a prolonged death.

But Olson said the deer management program is flexible. If the village sees it is not working or finds ways to improve it, they can make changes.

This vote comes as other central New York areas consider their own bait-and-cull programs. The village of Hamilton will also start a similar program in December. The Onondaga County Legislature set aside money in this year’s budget so neighborhoods can apply to help fund their own deer and tick management programs.

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.