The Sioux Falls deer population is increasing and residents are having encounters with the wild animals more frequency as a result.  

Many of those interactions are burdensome to City residents and the complaints are mounting.  Police Chief Doug Barthel says residents have been having problems on the road and at home.  “Last year alone we had almost $200,000 in vehicle damage due to collisions with deer just in the city limits.”  Barthel says deer have also trampled on landscaping and left feces behind.

City leaders and the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks have developed some options to handle the deer issue and have put together a survey to allow residents to shape the direction of how to reduce the municipal deer population.  A short survey is available at www.siouxfalls.org/deer-survey, and all Sioux Falls residents are welcome to submit their comments.

In years past, the area of concern for deer overpopulation was mainly in the eastern part of Sioux Falls.  The impetus for concern now runs along the Big Sioux River from the Leif Erickson Camp to Yankton Trail Park.

Chief Barthel says the emphasis will be on finding a way to reduce the deer herd.  “Our plan isn’t to totally eliminate (the population) because that won’t happen.  We just want to get it to a level that’s socially acceptable.”

Should the survey results favor a hunt within city limits, the deer taken would become meat, which would be donated to the needy.  A proposed ordinance to ban the feeding of deer in the city limits.

Two public meetings will take place in September to give residents opportunities to provide input as well. The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, September 10, 2014, from 7 to 9 p.m., and Wednesday, September 17, 2014, from 7 to 9 p.m. Both will be held at the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Outdoor Campus, 4500 South Oxbow Avenue.