Waupaca residents complain of damages
By Angie Landsverk
The first thing Patricia Cuellar does every morning is to check how much of her backyard deer destroyed during the night.
She discovers hosta plants and other perennials eaten by deer.
Cueller has purchased and tried numerous products – spraying them on the plants only to discover deer continued to eat them.
“Nothing works,” she said during the Aug. 2 meeting of the Waupaca Common Council.
Cuellar and two other city residents attended last week’s council meeting to express their concerns about the deer population in Waupaca.
After their comments, Mayor Brian Smith said, “We have talked at the staff level. We plan on bringing something back.”
City Administrator Henry Veleker said the last time the city talked about the deer issue was in 2004.
Just as the city brought in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to talk about the number of geese on Waupaca’s lakes and what measures the city could take, the city could arrange a similar meeting about the deer population in the city, he said.
Maybe such a meeting could be held after Labor Day, Veleker said.
“I don’t know if the council is aware of this, but we have had more complaints about deer this year than ever before,” Smith said.
Several years ago, a goose roundup took place in the city.
The mayor said it is too late to do a roundup this year.
“Both of them (deer and geese) are on radar, and we are looking at our options,” the mayor.
Residents told the council they never used to see deer in their yards.
When Cuellar and her husband, Steve, first moved into their home on Berlin Street in 2004, they never saw deer in their backyard.
Now, the couple sees them at all times of the day.
So does Kathy Hurt, who has lived on the street for 34 years.
Up until about five years, Hurt never saw deer in her yard.
“Now, I see eight at a time,” she said. “They are not afraid. I see them morning, day and night.”
Hurt said the deer population in the city is costing a lot of people a lot of money.
“I’ve seen more deer on my property than on (U.S. Highway) 10 in the last five years,” she said.
Hurt likes to put fresh flowers on graves at Lakeside Cemetery.
“Every year, I go to Turner’s and ask, ‘What can I plant that they won’t eat?’” Hurt said. “They’re like domesticated animals now. They don’t feel threatened.”
She also told Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson the geese have taken over.
Like the Cuellars, Hurt and and her husband, Ray, live on Mirror Lake.
“I am in support and will give money for a goose roundup,” Hurt said.
She said it is not healthy to have geese by Mirror and Shadow lakes, where people swim.
“And, we never had geese by the way until five years ago,” Hurt said.
Steve Johnson, who lives on South Main Street, asked the council to investigate how other urban areas handle geese and deer issues.
“I don’t think it would cost very much money,” he said in regard to addressing the deer population in Waupaca.
Johnson said some city employees could hunt the deer for free.
He said some city residents are again talking about donating money for a goose roundup.
As Cuellar spoke about the number of deer she see, she said if it were people who were vandalizing properties in the city, the city would do something about it.
Earlier this summer, the Cuellars asked their neighbor, Be Parker, if it was all right if they put up another 200 feet of fencing between their yards.
The four-foot high wire fence extends from a fence which had already been in place between their yards. The new fence ends at Mirror Lake.
With the wire fence having to go between trees, Cueller thought that would put a stop to the deer getting in their yard.
She could not imagine how they would try jumping over a fence when there are trees all around it.
The deer do.
In addition to what deer are doing to residents’ properties, Cuellar said the deer are also a traffic hazard.
People see them roaming around on Lake, Berlin, Washington and South Main streets, she said.
Cuellar also said she had three deer ticks on her this year and was on antiobiotics after she had a rash with a bullseye appearance – an early sign of a deer tick bite.