Mountain lion sightings spur urban deer conversation


MISSOULA, Mont. - Tuesday we told you how Missoula residents are on high alert after several mountain lion sightings around the valley.

Biologists say a large urban deer population is drawing the big cats in and they're worried about safety.

Wednesday night city officials gathered with residents to brainstorm ways to reduce the urban deer population.

There are three main ideas to reduce the deer population.  One is to use birth control to reduce the number of deer born, another is to follow Helena's plan and cull, or thin, the deer population.  The last idea is to do nothing at all.  

At the meeting a number of residents voiced their opinions on the issue.  

"I understand that people want to plant their flowers and not have them eaten and birth control would be the answer to this," said one resident.

Others argued that using birth control on deer could be ineffective.  

"I don't know if birth control is going to be an issue that's going to cure the problem in my backyard because so many deer have had babies in my backyard," said another resident.  

"If you decide to kill deer in your neighborhood or in Missoula you will be locked into an endless circle of killing deer," added Missoula resident Anja Heister.

The meeting was just a brainstorming session, so no decisions were made on what to do yet but council members tell NBC Montana they want more feedback and ideas from the public on what they would like to see happen.

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