Killing Urban Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer are invading our cities out West. The term "urban whitetail" has been coined to describe these animals that live within the city and reproduce here as well. They don't just move down from the mountains during the winter months anymore. They live here year 'round.
The problems they cause include raiding of gardens and collisions with vehicles.

The City of Helena, Montana, proposed to kill 350 animals, which would be about half the estimated 700 that inhabit the city. That number was reduced to 50 in a pilot project approved by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission. Helena is a city of 20,000 or so.

The project is underway. Collapsible traps are set up and baited with fruit, etc., and the animals are trapped during the night. Officials then collapse the traps to the ground. Fawns are released. Their mothers are killed. The animals are butchered and the meat is donated the local food bank, Helena Food Share.

The Mayor of Helena is Jim Smith. Here is his e-mail:

Check out my Restless Retirement blog at Retired and Restless. You may also enjoy the Missoula Recreation scene at Missoula Outside


  1. It can be a problem. I had several near run ins (or run intos) with deer on HWY 12 on the way out of Helena. There would be five of them standing in the middle of the road at night. That was back in the mid-nineties, though.

  2. I have lots of deer in my backyard. I thought it was cute until they started eating my expensive flowers and even the flowers they're suppose to stay away from.

    But I couldn't imagine killing them. With all the land in the world, maybe they can be shipped to some sort of deer farm. That seems sad too. But we've got to find some sort of solution because they're putting the lives of drivers at risk.

  3. I moved from Missoula in '79 and while I lived there, urban deer was not a problem. It was extremely rare, if at all ... I don't recall reports of deer, just the occasional bear.

    But last year when visiting my mom for three weeks, the deer were all over (Lincoln Hills ... Mom still lives in the same house my parents bought in 1970). I had some near misses at night at the bottom of the hill. And every time my daughter and I walked further up the hills, we would encounter the deer who were surprisingly not very afraid of us.

    I guess my point is that the deer have been displaced because of encroachment on their habitat. I'm not sure I would agree with the killing of the deer, but it is good that the meat is being used.

    Since man has caused the problem, it would be nice if man came up with a solution other than killing.

    Another problem with urban deer is that their predators come into play in town. A couple of years ago I was jogging up the hill and on my way down, I saw a rather large mountain lion ambling my way. I immediately stopped dead in my tracks, then slowly made my way down the hill ... backwards. I wasn't going to take my eyes off that cat. When I hit my Mom's street, I sprinted to the house. We called Fish and Game to come and take the big cat away before someone's little doggie became brunch.

  4. Good call, if there's something we don't like, we should kill it! Seriously, we don't do that enough.

    Maybe the problem is that we behave like yeast, gobbling up everything until we choke on our own feces. The deer have just adapted. They'll be there long after we've committed suicide.


  5. I see you are the same Doug that has "Tired and Restless." I checked out this blog right afer I sent the email to you asking.


I would be very pleased if you leave a comment. I will read every one too!!!
Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula