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City of Tega Cay could hire 'sharpshooters' as deer control method

In a survey by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, over 800 deer were spotted in the five miles of Tega Cay city limits.

TEGA CAY, S.C. — An overwhelming deer population has the city of Tega Cay is seeking a solution. There are a few options to get it under control, and one of them is to hire "sharpshooters" to euthanize the deer. 

According to the State of South Carolina, this idea of deer control is not new, but some Tega Cay residents said it's "cruel and violent."

Deer and wildlife are driving forces for many to purchase a house in Tega Cay. Residents told WCNC Charlotte they love to see them out and about. But that could be changing soon. 

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In a survey by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, over 800 deer were spotted in the five miles of Tega Cay city limits. According to the department, that's over nine times as many as it should have.

In the survey, homeowner complaints flood the page and said deer are damaging property. 

Tega Cay City Councilman Scott Shirley said the city has been working with the state on a few options to get this under control. 

"All of the foliage is gone up to the brow of the deer," Shirley said. "So they’ve eaten everything they can reach. Some of those options to fix the problem are very costly.” 

Two of those options:

  • Relocation: People would tranquilize the deer and move them to a different spot. 
  • Sterilization: Capture and administer a sort of birth control. 

There's another option that has residents speaking out: hiring "sharpshooters."

The city and state estimate it'll cost about $200 per deer shot and killed. There's the intent of removing at least 400 deer. That cost totals at least $80,000.

“I’m fairly confident it would come from taxpayer revenue," Shirley said. 

But to some, it's more than a concern over cost. Mary Ickert has lived in Tega Cay for a while and said this idea presents a major safety concern. 

"Which I'm very disappointed as a resident and terrified as a mother," Ickert said. "When you invite something in like this, you are always taking a chance that something could go horribly wrong.” 

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"If we were going to deploy a sharpshooter program it would be in the fairway of a golf course," Shirley added.

Some Tega Cay residents told WCNC Charlotte they are fans of hunting and deer control but they feel this way of control is inhumane. WCNC Charlotte checked and under Tega Cay City Ordinance 70, discharging a firearm is illegal within city limits. 

Shirley said if the city were to adopt the shooters, the city would ensure the safety of everyone. 

The city plans to vote on this idea soon. WCNC Charlotte does not yet know when the item will be on the Tega Cay City Council agenda.

Contact Austin Walker at awalker@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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