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Lake Shore wrestles with what to do about problem deer

The Lake Shore City Council on Monday, April 22, continued to talk about deer depredation and a possible controlled deer hunt in the city, according to draft meeting minutes.

No action was taken.

Mike Loss of the DNR spoke with council members. The council learned evidence shows there is a one in 80 chance of an auto/deer collision and the fatality rate is high for motorcycle/deer collisions. Also, Lyme disease is a significant medical problem, and deer have a significant impact on native tree regeneration and wildflower growth in the forest all the way down to shorelines.

Loss provided a copy of the DNR Urban Deer Population Control Policies and Procedures, which would allow the city to authorize the harvest/control of problem deer.

Mayor John Terwilliger said there is a good share of deer/auto crashes and numerous complaints from residents of deer eating garden plants.

Council member Susan Amacher said she has had Lyme’s disease three times, and she believes the council has a responsibility to protect citizens.

Loss recommended residents protect plants from deer with fencing, milorganite or spray control products.

Public works supervisor Jim Thomes asked if there was a way to approve extra deer tags or special deer tags in Lake Shore. He said bow hunters possibly would hunt in the city more if they could take more deer.

Loss said that’s hard to implement because there is no way to prove hunters are taking the deer in Lake Shore.

Council member John Poston asked if the city has the authority to extend the deer season within the city. Loss said the city must provide information to show that need as well as how many deer are being taken in the city. There can be a registration site set up to do this, he said.

To provide evidence of a need, Loss said the police department records reported deer/vehicle crashes.

Loss said the deer numbers are generally down in the area (Zone 242).

Amacher suggested the city should once again consider banning feeding or asking people to decrease their feeding of deer. Loss said the city could also incorporate the hunting plan. He will ask within his office what options the city has.

Public safety

Police reported 127 incidents from March 25-April 21, including 97 traffic-related incidents and 30 miscellaneous calls.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Presented a certificate of appreciation to Elaine Leach for her years of service on various city committees, most recently the Environmental Committee.

• Approved the 2012 city audit.

• Changed the May meeting from Memorial Day to a week earlier, Monday, May 20.

• Authorized Rardin Excavating to crack seal city roads.

• Agreed to buy a lift station monitoring system for $2,200 for the city’s seven lift stations, as well as a $175 monthly charge for monitoring.

• Appointed Arla Johnson to the Environmental Committee.

• Learned the Trail 77 Team plans to try to raise private money to go toward the proposed recreational trail through the city, keeping in mind that Cass County plans to reconstruct County Road 77 in 2017. The city has applied for grants as well.