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Urban deer still a problem in Thermopolis

USDA photo by Scott Bauer

While deer numbers across the state of Wyoming may be down, Thermopolis has an urban deer population that seems to be holding close to steady and doing a lot of damage to yards and gardens.

For the third year in a row, the city has applied for and received a special permit from Wyoming Game and Fish that allows the police department to shoot a certain number of mule deer who have been calling Thermopolis home.

Assistant to the Mayor Fred Crosby says that the city has tried a number of tactics to reduce the deer numbers, including passing a “no feeding” ordinance, but the population has proven to be resilient.

“People are saying that it is a little better—there aren’t as many of them running around. I don’t know, it appears to me like it’s just maintaining a little smaller number—a better number—than it used to be,” Crosby said.

The first two years the city applied for a take permit, called a Chapter 56, the police department destroyed fifty deer each year. This year they requested that the permit be increased to sixty.

Game and Fish stressed that a Chapter 56 permit is not a hunting license, and that hunting in town is still restricted by municipality by-laws.

Chelsea Biondolillo is originally from Portland, Oregon and comes to Laramie by way of several southern cities, including New Orleans, Austin, and Phoenix. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wyoming in creative nonfiction and environmental studies and her prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Phoebe, DIAGRAM, Birding, and others. Chelsea loves plants, birds, and rocks, and tries to spend as much time as she can around them.
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