CHAPEL HILL — Deer-feeding days in Chapel Hill could be numbered.
The Town Council will consider a ban on deer feeding at its next meeting in September, according to an e-mail from Town Manager Roger Stancil.
The council will discuss a ban following a similar measure approved in Carrboro in November. Carrboro residents caught feeding deer can now be fined $25.
It would be a misdemeanor offense if a resident violates a potential ban in Chapel Hill, Stancil wrote. But it could be tricky to enforce.
"Because we do not have information on the extent of deer feeding within the town it is unclear how effective such a ban on feeding would be," Stancil wrote.
Carrboro’s ban followed concerns about the town’s growing deer population and the effect on landscaping, gardens and public safety. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission estimates Orange County has 30 to 44 deer per square mile.
The law does not apply to natural vegetation, crops or feeders used for domestic animals or livestock. Carrboro gives violators 48 hours to remove illegal food or feeding devices before levying the fine.
Two years ago nearly 100 people attended a Town Hall forum on the issue of deer in Chapel Hill. Experts from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Orange County Health Department and others provided information related to deer overpopulation, including the effects of the deer population on the environment, potential health risks related to deer overpopulation and the feasibility of an urban bow hunt for deer.
After the forum, the Town Council asked the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to authorize an Urban Archery Season for Deer Hunting, which essentially extends the state’s bow and arrow hunting season by a month to let property owners kill deer on their property each winter.
“We don’t know how many deer might have been taken,” said Bill Webster, assistant parks and recreation director. “It was a neighborhood by neighborhood effort. It was not a town-sponsored hunt.”
Anecdotally, Webster said the town heard deer were taken in the Mount Bolus neighborhood.
The town will likely continue seeking the extension each year “as long as it seems to have the support of the council,” he said.
Ferral: 919-932-8746 Schultz: 919-932-2003