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CITY OF DELAFIELD - City officials who are already facing deer population management issues have postponed this year’s deer harvest because of a new requirement for the permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR annually issues the city a permit that enables a contractor to shoot deer on designated private property from March until May in an effort to control the deer population.

A local property owner must be willing to allow the sharpshooter on their property, and adjoining neighbors must not object to the hunting activity.

For more than a decade, residents in the southwest corner of the city have complained about the overabundance of deer that, according to the residents and city officials, destroy residential landscaping and threaten public health and safety by spreading Lyme disease and posing a hazard for motorists.

This year there have been an increasing number of complaints from other areas of the city, according to city officials.

However, this year’s DNR permit, which allows the killing of 10 deer, stipulates that the deer cannot be shot in the head, according to City Administrator Tom Hafner.

Hafner explained during an April 17 common council meeting that the DNR wants the deer heads preserved for research into chronic wasting disease.

The city’s deer harvesting contractor, Wildlife Management Services, will not shoot deer at the designated site under the conditions required in the permit, according to Hafner.

When deer are shot in the head, they die instantly, Hafner explained to the council. But when deer are shot in the torso, they run before they die.

The contractor does not have permission from adjoining property owners to retrieve the deceased deer.

The contractor, according to Hafner, wants a new designated site that includes permission from nearby property owners to retrieve the deer.

Hafner said he hopes to resume the deer harvest as soon as a new shooting site is found.

Alderman Chris Smith, who lives in the Steeple Point residential development, told Hafner that most of his neighbors would be willing to give the contractor permission to shoot and pursue deer on their property.

Steeple Point is adjacent to the Cedar Valley residential development, the existing shooting venue, Smith noted.

On April 3, the council instructed staff to prepare a comprehensive wildlife management plan after spending nearly an hour discussing how the city can better manage its growing deer population.

Hafner is expected to present to the council in May proposed city code changes that could increase the city’s ability to control the deer population and allow more deer harvesting in the city.

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