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Oh deer! Anaconda dealing with increasing urban deer problem

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 09, 2024

ANACONA — No, I’m not in West Yellowstone, or Ennis—this town of the Anaconda and, yes, it has an urban deer issue it’s been dealing with lately, so much so that the town has started a task force to try to deal with this nuisance.

“They eat everything. They do. My neighbor had plastic flowers out and they tried to eat them,” said Anaconda resident Judy Surina.

Chris Marchion is a member of Anaconda’s Urban Wildlife Management Task Force and says the deer populations within city limits have sharply increased in recent years and it’s a problem.

“They eat your vegetation, they get hit by cars, they occasionally get aggressive with people, they have conflicts with dogs,” said Marchion.

Many citizens have a problem with the animals in town.

“You can’t hardly drive a block or two without seeing one of those mule deer running around town. Something has to be done I just think for everybody’s concern, both people and the animals themselves,” said Scot Conrady who owns Thompson’s Bar.

The task force, made up or wildlife experts and local citizens, say it's difficult to pinpoint the cause for the increase, but people in town can help.

“The first thing that needs to happen is for people to quit feeding deer, that’s the first thing. And let them get on their own. I think when we do that a lot of them will leave and repopulate outside of town where they belong,” said Marchion.

Later this summer, the task force will release a report with recommendations for dealing with the urban herds. Marchion said you can’t relocate deer that are potentially sick because it could infect other animals. Putting down the animals could potentially be another option.

“Wildlife needs to be out in the wildlands where they belong. That’s where they’re the healthiest, that’s where we can manage them and that’s where the public can enjoy them,” said Marchion.