Deer feeding fuels strong debate at Silver Bay meetingThe issue of deer feeding caused quite a stir at the Silver Bay City Council meeting on Tuesday.
The issue of deer feeding caused quite a stir at the Silver Bay City Council meeting on Tuesday. Local residents gathered to voice their opinions on whether or not Silver Bay residents should be able to purchase a permit that would allow them to feed the deer during certain months.
The Silver Bay City Council voted to enforce current city ordinances that banned deer feeding last summer. According to City Administrator Lana Fralich, the nearby towns of Babbitt and Two Harbors do not have deer feeding permits, although Two Harbors does make exceptions.
Silver Bay resident Rick Scheradella said people have been feeding deer since the town started and that it’s unfair to charge a $500 fine for it. He said he’d be willing to pay up to $25 for a deer feeding permit. “We live up here to watch nature. If we can’t watch nature, we might as well be living in the Cities,” he said.
Jerry Stauss, another Silver Bay resident, said he thought it would ruin the enjoyment of the veterans’ home occupants. “What are they supposed to do? There’s no mega mall,” he said.
But others voiced their opposition to the deer feeding permits. Silver Bay resident Janice Thompson said she was against it. She said she had beautiful flowers but ugly gardens because the flowers needed to be fenced for protection against the deer. “How do the deer know what months they can be fed,” she asked.
City Councilor Carlene Perfetto said she was worried about the ticks and tick-based diseases that deer brought with them as well as the potential liability costs Silver Bay could face if the city allowed deer feeding permits. “I don’t know if our city should entertain the risk,” she said.
She said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources didn’t encourage deer feeding because it’s not done “for the betterment of the deer but for the viewing or hunting pleasure of others.”
But Silver Bay resident Vicki Stevens said people were more likely to pick up ticks “by walking through the woods” and that “mice are the primary carriers of deer ticks.” As for the flowers, she said that she used a certain spray product on hers which caused the deer to leave them alone.
The council failed to pass both a motion that called for permits and one that struck them down. Statutes will be reviewed if residents wish to put the question of deer feeding permits on the ballot this November.