Are there too many deer? Too few? Or just enough?
A new task force is pondering these questions, surveying farmers, hunters, conservationists, small business owners and others to see whether they think the deer population in parts of Schenectady and Albany counties should be larger or smaller.
Members of the public who wish to provide the task force with input have until June 2 to do so.
Input about the size of the deer herd can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the mail to Karl Parker, DEC Region 4, 1130 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12306.
The task force was established by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and will focus on an area known as Wildlife Management Unit 4B, which includes Niskayuna, part of Rotterdam, the city of Schenectady, and portions of the Albany County towns of Guilderland, New Scotland, Bethlehem and Coeymans.
The last task force for Wildlife Management Unit 4B met in 1995, and recommended reducing the area’s deer population by 35 percent, according to DEC.
“This is something we like to do every once in awhile,” said Rick Georgeson, a spokesman for DEC’s Region 4 headquarters.
Georgeson said that the deer population in the area has been fairly stable.
In March, a task force was set up to determine whether the deer population in parts of Albany County, including the town of Colonie and parts of Guilderland, New Scotland and Bethlehem, is too large or small. “They go out and talk to people with similar interests,” Georgeson said.
Farmers, for instance, will be asked whether deer are a nuisance and destroy their crops. Highway safety and law enforcement officials might be asked whether there are too many car-deer collisions.