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Syracuse official says reported ‘boom’ sounds not from deer culling

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media File Photo
Deer in Syracuse's Meadowbrook neighborhood on the city's east side.

A deer and tick management plan that involves culling deer, is underway in the city of Syracuse. The program started this month and is meant to reduce an overpopulation of deer. It involves federal sharpshooters shooting deer from various locations. But some residents have expressed concern that they can hear the gunshots. 

Syracuse Chief Policy Officer Greg Loh said there were reports of “boom” sounds happening at night on the west side last week. But he said those sounds would not be connected to the deer management program. Wildlife managers use rifles with noise suppression systems. And the sites, Loh said, are at least 500 feet away, almost two football fields, in all directions, from any residents.

“If they see something unusual in their neighborhood, or hear something unusual in their neighborhood, they should go ahead and call 911," Loh said. "Given the sites that are being used, people should not be seeing or hearing anything of the work that’s happening in deer management.”

The culling takes place on weeknights. City officials are not saying how many sites there are or where specifically they are located. Loh said they are in locations on the city’s west, east and south sides, in places where the deer problem has been most significant.

“Part of the process is not disclosing the specific sites, so that we don’t draw more attention to them, which increases public safety risks,” Loh said.

There were reports of some people releasing dogs in DeWitt and Fayetteville, to scare off the deer during their culling programs. Still, some Syracuse Common Councilors have expressed their desire to alert residents of the culling at neighborhood meetings.

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.