"It is a practical solution in a dense community, where lethal options are problematic," Mayor Swiderski told me today. "There's an eagerness to see that the problem is addressed."
Our team has darted 25 deer thus far, and we'll be here into April. "Our goal is to treat two-thirds of the female segment of the population – from 30 to 50 - in order to curb the size of the population over time," says Stephanie Boyles Griffin, senior director of Innovative Wildlife Management for The HSUS.
Stephanie and her team have set up feeder stations, with automatic dispensers spraying whole corn in a 10-foot radius of the four-foot-high device twice a day, taking advantage of the clustering of deer around these sites. Our team then approaches the deer, already pretty well habituated to a human presence, and shoots a targeted female with a dart that immobilizes her for a brief period. When she is down, our expert team removes the dart and treats the entry point. We attach a numbered tag to both ears and then inject the PZP-22 vaccine, which should prevent pregnancy for 22 months. We collect a little blood for a pregnancy screening, administer a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and do body measurements. We then reverse the effect of the tranquilizer, and it usually takes the deer two or three hours to recover. Our team stays with them until they get back on their feet, to protect them from dogs, coyotes, or any other possible threat.