Tidioute sees unwanted spike in deer population
Unless it’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, or Vixen, the deer in Tidioute Borough are adding up more than wanted.
A Facebook post by borough office manager Crystal Heenan brought light to an increased number of deer in town, which are leaving droppings, eating out of town planters, and “prancing” in front of vehicles on Main Street.
“The Tidioute Borough council is concerned with the number of deer in town,” Heenan wrote on the Tidioute Borough Facebook page. “Especially on Main Street and in the business district.
“In recent years, the number of deer on Main Street has increased dramatically,” said Heenan. “This was unheard of just a few years ago. These deer have become a nuisance as they have eaten all the holiday decor out of the planters throughout the business district and have caused many accidents.”
Heenan said, “residents have requested deer crossing signs and even suggested the speed limit be reduced on Main Street.”
Tidioute Borough Council recently approved the purchase of two deer-crossing signs for Main Street, Heenan confirmed.
“With that said, we would like to ask that residents do not feed the deer,” she said. “When you do, you’re not only feeding the deer but all wildlife. It has been reported that coyotes have been spotted within the borough and on Main Street. Garbage night and curbside pick-up is becoming more of a problem, and dogs cannot be left outside. So, please people, do not feed the wildlife.”
If you want to know just how prevalent the problem has become, just ask borough resident Dave Manning. He has grown “about three acres of corn every year,” he said. “Our farm sits right on the main road, basically. Before five years ago, we never had an issue, and all of a sudden we started to notice that we were getting a lot more damage than we ever had, and we haven’t had an ear in the last three years.”
Manning agreed it was an “uncommon place for a farm, being so close to the borough,” but he tried to fence in the corn, and even tried a pepper spray to keep deer away.
Even without his corn, the deer are visiting Tidioute Borough more often.
“We counted 30 deer — 15 in one field and 15 in another (from Main Street),” said Manning. “We’re in nature (in Tidioute), but it’s not like we’re a dirt back road. It’s a town of 800 people.”
“The deer are being fed,” said Heenan, which is attracting them closer to Main Street and backyards.
“We have had complaints also of deer droppings in yards of residential homes, leading to family pets, dogs, needing to be wormed,” she said. “More deer on
Chip Brunst, Game Commission information and education supervisor, said it’s becoming that time of year deer need to search far and wide for their food. So, it’s no surprise they will go to “where the food will be easiest to find.
“Most of it is they become habituated to feeding,” he said. “Even a bird feeder. Birds are sloppy eaters.”
He said the suburbs of Pittsburgh have run into the same type of problem, with a greater number of deer at times seeking — and getting — food left out by people trying to enjoy their aesthetic beauty.
He said the answer is simple.
Don’t feed the animals — because they aren’t supposed to be there.
It lessens the nuisance, as well as avoids an unhealthy environment for the deer.
In New York, it’s actually illegal to feed deer by putting out any material that attracts deer to feed.
A Pennsylvania Game Commission brochure, Please Don’t Feed the Deer, is available at www.pgc.state.pa.us.
“While feeding deer may enhance wildlife viewing, decades of research has clearly shown that supplemental feeding leads to increased disease risk, long-term habitat destruction, increased vehicle collisions, habituation to humans and alteration of other deer behavioral patterns and, ultimately, the demise of the value of deer and deer-related recreation.”