Deer, Deer, Everywhere

They've become the "neighbors gone wild."

CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports many expanding suburban communities, and even some cities, face a dangerously expanding deer population. In backyards, they graze on shrubbery and feud over territory. They scramble through an empty Washington D.C. subway stop and into Colorado streets.

They're a costly municipal menace that some call a nice problem to have.

"They wouldn't think that if they were faced with $1 million worth of damage and, you know, 50 or 60 dead deer on the road that need to be disposed of. It's not a nice problem to have," says Gerry Astorino, the mayor of Lakeway, Texas.

Now Lakeway and Hollywood Park are trapping their deer, thinning herds that have grown to more than 1,000.

The deer will be processed, and the meat donated to food banks. But the sight of Bambi going to be butchered has brought protests.

"We don't want it to be just trap and trap and trap and slaughter, slaughter, slaughter until they're all gone," says Debbie Trueman.

But Sunny Williams, who had a knee-shattering collision with a doe, isn't as sympathetic.

"They don't care about people that are severely injured," says Williams, adding that they had to put his knee back together with wires and screws.

Nearly half the cars in a body shop visited by CBS News hit deer.

"If I had to guess, an average repair is probably $3,000 or so," says John Caldwell.

One of the biggest parts of the problem is urban and even suburban populations moving further and further out of cities and into areas once known only to wildlife.

"I don't know that there's a long-term solution to suburban deer problems in this country," says Bryan Richards, of Texas' Parks and Wildlife Dept.

And so residents here continue to hotwire their flowerbeds with electric fencing, literally wrapping their homes in wire to keep deer away.

Relocating them to ranches, experts say, is just a temporary fix.

"I think that communities have to become more accepting of lethal means of population control," says Richards.

Today, Highland Park, Ill., captures does and a veterinarian surgically sterilizes them. It's very expensive. But for gun-shy suburbs, it may be the only option to keep the backyard from becoming a jungle out there.

  • Jaime Holguin

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