A committee formed to identify concerns around the growing deer population in Hampton and the Kennebecasis Valley has created a public opinion survey for people to weigh in on the issue.
The Kennebecasis Valley Deer Committee survey came out of an effort between the towns of Rothesay, Quispamsis and Hampton. Information collected could be used to help develop a deer management plan for all three areas.
Hampton Coun. Bob Doucet, the chairman of the Regional Deer Committee, says the Department of Natural Resources is taking the lead on how to handle the rising deer population.
However, he said, the information gathered in the survey could influence the direction taken by the provincial government.
"It's just a little more fuel to approach DNR and the province of New Brunswick to deal with this, because it's not a municipal issue, it's a provincial issue," said Doucet.
Cathy Morrison, who lives in Hampton, said she plans to fill out the questionnaire. Deer have consistently raided her garden, forcing her to "give up on annuals."
"I boycotted last year, and didn't buy a single one, because as soon as you plant them they're gone," she said. "I had to take the window boxes off the front of the house, because they climbed the deck and ate everything."
"Part of it is our fault for building in deer habitat, but still, we really need to do something to control the population," said Morrison.
A variety of concerns have already been brought forward, Doucet said, from nuisance complaints, to fears around deer ticks and Lyme Disease.
"One question is, 'do you have concerns about Lyme disease, and are [you] aware of the disease?' I contracted [the illness] in 2002 and I've been dealing with it ever since," he said.
The survey also asks for residents' observations on intentional feeding of deer, property damage from the animals and experiences with deer-vehicle accidents.
Doucet said based on the feedback received so far, the committee has not considered recommending a deer cull, but it does believe more hunting close to town limits could help.
The survey will run until the end of May. It is open to residents of Rothesay, Quispamsis, and Hampton, and can be accessed through each of the towns' websites.
Hard copies of the survey can be picked up at the town offices as well.