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Less bang for the bucks: Mequon council aims for doe-only deer culling

Dec. 11, 2013

Mequon — Officials are targeting only antlerless deer with the city's annual culling contract with area sharpshooters. While the distinction could include bucks, the intent is to take down does.

The reasoning is twofold. First, the company which kills the deer annually says it will take 50 deer in 2014 instead of the 60 it took last year, but is charging the same $10,000 fee in its contract. Officials hope that targeting does will stretch the dollars in the contract, since every doe killed could mean fewer fawns come spring. Second, keeping the contract doe-only means more trophy bucks for local bowhunters, several of whom implored the Common Council on Tuesday to keep bucks out of the sharpshooters' sights.

"We do have some very nice bucks here in Mequon," resident Rick Schnell said. "It would be a shame for the sharpshooters to deprive the bowhunters of the chance to shoot those bucks."

Alderwoman Pam Adams made a motion, later approved by the council, to add the doe-only provision to the contract, though she stressed that if the sharpshooters don't agree the contract should be approved anyway.

"It makes sense," Adams said. "We should consider negotiating that, if we only have 50 (deer in the contract)."

Though he later voted for the culling contract, which is meant to help reduce deer/car collisions on city roads, Alderman Ken Zganjar voted against the doe-only provision and said it is a contradiction for hunters to be able to take bucks while the sharpshooters can't.

"It's ideal to say, 'take does only,' but you probably won't cull as many deer as you want," Zganjar said.

Alderman Robert Strzelczyk, on the other hand, voted for the doe-only clause but against the contract itself. He advocated that the city work with the state Department of Natural Resources to issue more nuisance permits to local business owners, who could then help cull the herd at no cost to the city.

"I'm really adamant that this is a bottomless pit, $10,000 a year, but there are hunters in Mequon who would love to shoot the gigantic buck that slept in my backyard last year," Strzelczyk said. "...I support the safety, but I have to dig in my heels in with the no vote."

Alderman Andrew Nerbun added that the city should look into alternative means of culling the herd next year, since the current contract calculates out to a $200 per deer cost and averages "barely more than one per square mile, citywide."

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