Deer population continues to be concern in Tega Cay

TEGA CAY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – New numbers show there are more than 1,000 deer live in the peninsula in Tega Cay, which on average is one deer per every 1.3 acres, city leaders say.

City officials have now requested a permit from South Carolina DNR to harvest the deer through a process called culling.

You see them on almost every corner in Tega Cay.

“There’s just so many. It needs to be controlled”, says Tega Cay resident Denny Heim.

Resident Denny Heim says not only does he believe the deer are dangerous for drivers, but they’ve also become a nuisance to his yard.

“We have steps going onto our porch. They walk up the steps and eat the plants off of our porch”, says Heim.

Tega Cay leaders have also been aware of the deer population concerns for years. A new count shows an estimated 1,028 deer.

At a recent council meeting city leaders announced they are requesting a permit from South Carolina DNR to harvest the deer through a process called culling.

Leaders say that means a trained sharp shooter would remove a certain amount of deer to control the population.

“We’ve had over 10,000 deer removed using sharp shooting in South Carolina again, primarily in the coastal area over the last 20 plus years, without incident. People have a misconception of what it is. Its one person, one sharp shooter. Its not an army of people out there running around in the community. They typically work with the community to set up areas they can bait the deer to safe fire zones”, says Charles Ruth.

Wildlife Biologist with South Carolina DNR, Charles Ruth says the process is very common in the state, especially in areas in the low country like Hilton Head. The process however, causing concerns for many residents who believe there could be another way to thin the herd.

“I’m a parent with children and dogs in my home and in my yard. I’m concerned about the safety of sing sharp shooters to kill the deer. Even if you make this as safe as possible there are no guarantees”, says concerned resident.

According to City manager, Charlie Funderburk experts recommend the town needs to get rid of 300-360 deer to begin the process of getting the population under control.

“Our plan right now as it stands, unless otherwise directed by council is to contract with the USDA to come in to conduct the removal process. We will also be utilizing off duty law enforcement in order to secure the areas, and those areas will be on the golf course in multiple locations” says Charlie Funderburk.

If approved, the process could begin later this year or in early 2024.

A citizen group called Tega Cay Wildlife Conservation is working on another plan members hope could control the population through fertility control techniques.
If the culling process is conducted, the deer will be donated to a charity organization.

City staff estimates the cost would 40,000 dollars for the contract work with DNR.

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