HELENA – Helena police will begin their annual deer removal process at the beginning of December.
The city started the removal program ten years ago to address increasing deer concerns in Helena. Each year, deer are trapped on private properties, harvested by police volunteers, and processed locally.
The process will start around December 1st and last until March at the latest.
Since 2008, police say more than 1,000 deer have been removed, adding up to more than 30,000 pounds of meat donated to Food Share.
This year, Fish, Wildlife and Parks set a goal for Helena police to cull 175 to 225 deer, depending on the prevalence of bucks versus does.
Chief of Police Troy McGee says that number is a fairly typical goal, and would keep the population at about 25 deer per square mile in Helena, the preferred population approved by city commissioners.
He says reaching that goal, however, depends on the weather.
“We never do meet that goal,” said McGee. “The culling period’s fairly short, it depends on how hard a winter we have, and some of the officers and people that do it lose interest at times. So we never get to that amount, but we make a good attempt.”
According to McGee, deer complaints have steadily decreased since police began removing deer.
This year, they received one complaint about an aggressive deer, which is the lowest number since police began tracking that statistic.
McGee says they are in desperate need of volunteers who will let police put traps in their yard to capture deer. They have 12 traps they can place and move around as needed.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Captain Curt Stinson at 447-8284, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.