No one's sure exactly how many deer live in Missoula?s city limits. But now the City Council wants to know. They're looking at possible plans to keep the urban deer population down. Some want to see the city copy what Helena does, where deer and trapped and killed, but not everyone agrees.
City Councilman John Wilkins has seen firsthand the problems urban deer can cause.
?I do realize it happens, and in an instance right in this yard, we had to call fish and game because on got hit by a car and it had broken leg,? said Wilkins.
That's why he and other members of Missoula City Council are looking at ways to cut down the urban deer population.
One plan they're researching is one similar to what Helena?s been using for the last four years. They have 12 traps around the city. Once trapped, they kill the deer and then donate the meat.
?I think that'd be a good idea,? said Missoula resident Julie Jenkins.
Jenkins has lived in Missoula?s Rattlesnake area for 11 years. She says the deer are always around, at home and at work?Rattlesnake Elementary School.
?We're a little bit concerned about the deer problem on the playground when there are children out there...the deer are really tame and you just can't trust an animal,? said Jenkins.
She's ready for things to change. ?There's getting to be quite a few deer in town, and more than what we need.?
May Conley says there are deer in her neighborhood too, on Orange Street. But she doesn't think killing them is the answer.
?I think killing them is way too extreme,? said Conley.
She has other ideas. ?I think if it came down to it, maybe having better city limit boundaries with more fences like they have along 93 coming into town, that's something we could look at,? she said.
Councilman Wilkins says it's input like this that will help the city find a solution. ?It's totally up to the public on how they want to react to this issue.?
But there's still a lot of work to be done. Council members say they're researching the costs associated with the trapping program. They?re also looking into other options.
Wilkins said they plan to discuss urban deer again next month. In the meantime, they?re asking for public input.
NBC Montana will keep you updated.