DEER POPULATION MANAGEMENT OPERATION
The City of Charlottesville will be working with a wildlife management specialist to implement a deer management operation that will begin February 18, 2019 and end in March. The program was first initiated during 2018. City Council approved the program in response to numerous and sustained complaints about hazardous driving conditions, health concerns stemming from Lyme disease, landscapes being impacted by an overabundant deer population, and the health of the local herd.
The operation will take place in City of Charlottesville parks during nighttime hours. It is expected that approximately 125 deer will be culled as a result of the program. The operation will be carefully coordinated with the Emergency Communications Center and the Charlottesville Police Department.
- The program occurred over 11 nights between February 20 and March 8.
- 125 deer were culled on nine City of Charlottesville-owned properties.
- 2,850 pounds of venison were donated to the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry.
- Instructions were given to our selected wildlife management firm to avoid shooting Charlottesville's albino/white deer and the program ended with that guidance being honored.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is this happening?
City Council has discussed this issue for at least seven years by our records. Deer management is a frequent topic at Our Town meetings. Citizen concerns have typically been vehicle collisions, landscape damage, fear of disease transmission, and health of the herd due to overpopulation. Council received extensive information on lethal and non-lethal strategies that are implemented by localities in Virginia via staff presentations between September 2016 and June 2017. As a result, City Council adopted an urban archery ordinance and agreed to couple that population management strategy with professional services.
Who will be performing the deer management operation?
The deer removal will be conducted by a wildlife management firm contracting with the City, Blue Ridge Wildlife and Pest Management LLC.
What are Blue Ridge Wildlife & Pest Management's qualifications and how were they selected?
The vendor was chosen through a competitive process after the City issued a Request For Proposals. The selected vendor team are wildlife professionals and qualified marksman active in Virginia and other States. You can learn more here: www.yourwildlifepro.com.
How much will this cost the City?
The contract specifies that a minimum of 125 deer will be removed for $50,000.
How will the deer be removed?
Suppressed rifles will be used by the firm. Stands will be used in some, but not all, cases. The firm uses frangible bullets to increase safety.
What should I do if I think I hear gunshots?
You should call 911 if you believe you heard gunshots. Police will be in close contact with the wildlife management firm and know their location at all times.
What happens to the deer then?
The animal is transported to a meat processing facility and all of the proceeds return to local food banks. The vendor estimates over 3,000 pounds of venison will be available to help feed local residents.
When is this taking place?
The City expects the vendor to complete their work in the next 4-6 weeks. All activity will happen during nighttime hours.
Where will this happen?
The City and the wildlife management firm have selected specific areas in City parks. The City will be putting up signs in the areas where deer management will take place.
Am I allowed in the parks while this happens?
No, City of Charlottesville Parks are all closed by ordinance at the times that this operation will take place.
Are citizens allowed to shoot deer in the City?
No, citizens are not permitted to participate outside of the approved urban archery ordinance.
What about the white deer I have seen, are they protected?
This was a concern shared by a number of residents and was specifically discussed with Council prior to the approval of this strategy. Our selected wildlife management firm has specific instructions to avoid all albino/white deer and has acknowledged their plans to comply in writing.
What do I do if I have additional questions?
General questions about the deer culling program can be left on the City's Public Input voicemail line at 434-970-3109.