The city of Joseph is calling on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to control its deer problem.
“Being a small town in eastern Oregon we’ve always had deer in town. For years they lived in the field outside of town, and then they’d migrate in, in the evening,” says Dennis Sands, mayor of Joseph. “But over the last three or four years there’s very little migration and they’re just living in town. They have no fear of humans.”
The state estimates about 200 deer are living in Joseph. They often destroy gardens and can be a hazard for drivers.
The deer like living in the city because there’s often food and not many predators. City officials say the problem has gotten out of hand. They want the state to step in.
“We think that the city needs to consider looking into passing no-feeding regulations,” says Rick Hargrave, spokesman for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Sands says the city is willing to consider a regulation. But he doesn’t think people in town leave out food or salt for the deer.
“I can think of nobody that does that,” says Sands. “That’s, I think a dodge. They jump my fence and come in and eat my flowers.”
He says he’s caught deer eating out of the flower boxes on his front porch. The deer had to jump his fence and climb five stairs to get to his flowers.
“That tells me that they aren’t wild deer,” says Sands.
“We want to help, but we just don’t have the resources to do all the trapping that’s necessary to remove the deer from a place like Joseph,” says Hargrave.
The city of Joseph will take up deer control at its February council meeting.