- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The number of deer in Sioux City is dropping, but it’s unclear whether the city ban on feeding deer and other wildlife should be credited for the decline.

In 2012 the City Council enacted the ban to reduce deer-vehicle accidents and damage to plants.

Doug Chafa, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, told the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1j6oNtU ) that the ordinance is an important part of a deer management program.

“It is a really good way to prevent habituating deer to people, and a really good way to prevent problems,” Chafa said.

Deer counts show the number of deer in the city has declined, but that’s in part due to bow-hunting allowed in limited circumstances and disease, Chafa said.

The city first proposed banning deer feeding in 2010 but didn’t take action after residents objected, saying they enjoyed feeding the animals. When it came up again in 2012, more residents expressed exasperation with deer damaging their property.

Frances Cummings, who lives in a woodsy area on the city’s north side, said her family erected fences around their property after deer rubbed against and killed some trees. Since the feeding ban, she said the number of deer seems to have declined.

“I like the ban,” she said.

Although the number of deer may be declining, the police department hasn’t seen a corresponding drop in vehicles hitting deer.

There were 59 crashes in 2010, 55 in 2011, 59 in 2012 and 61 in 2013.

The 2012 ordinance allows a fine of at least $65 for those who intentionally violate the ban of feeding deer, as well as turkeys. People also can be charged with a simple misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a $100 fine if convicted.

Police Capt. Marti Reilly said they sometimes respond to complaints about people feeding deer, but officers haven’t issued any citations.

“We don’t have the ‘deer police’ going out,” Reilly said.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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