Deer population causes concerns in Tellico Village neighborhood

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VONORE (WATE) – Concerns are growing in one Monroe County community over deer and how to manage them.

Some homeowners in the Kahite neighborhood of Tellico Village say the deer are a nuisance, and they are trying to get approved to be able to hunt them. Others say killing the deer is not the answer.

The wildlife is one of the things that drew Anja Hammersmith and her husband to move there 15 years ago.

“This is a rustic community. We have wildlife. We have a lot of geese,” she said.

Now the deer are causing some issues between neighbors as some are looking for ways to cut down the deer population.

“They have a lot of deer. It’s a community of about 600 people. It’s about 800 acres. The last few counts of deer have been in the 300 range,” said John Cherry with the Tellico Village Property Owners Association.

Hammersmith says the main issue for others is the deer eating people’s landscaping, but some are also citing the potential for disease.

“The issue is if eating flowers is a capital offense,” Hammersmith said.

There is a push by some in the neighborhood to “cull” the deer meaning they would get approval through TWRA to be able to hunt the deer. The issue has to be approved by the Tellico Village Property Owners Association first which had a meeting yesterday to hear from both sides.

Another Kahite resident, Jim Christopher, wrote to WATE 6 On Your Side saying it is a matter of safety for both people and deer.

“I witnessed a fawn hit by a pickup pulling itself off the road with its two front legs, because its rear legs were both broken. I will never forget its cries. It seems the mothers run away from the roads and the fawns go the opposite, right into traffic,” he wrote. “As the population increases, potential for disease within the herd increases. Deer wasting disease is common in overpopulated deer herds. Disease for humans transmitted by ticks is also a concern.”

Christopher also said the deer no longer fear people or cars.

“You can honk your horn and they don’t even move. You can yell and clap at them in your yard and they just look at you,” he said.

But Hammersmith said she believes the issue comes back to saving the landscaping and is pushing the save the deer.

“Out of yesterday’s meeting there were some questions that were raised, some legal, some procedural and so we’ve got different people out looking for those answers so we can make sure our board if and when they make a decision on this it’s an informed opinion,” said Cherry.

Hammersmith said she is prepared to keep fighting the issue.

“Killing the deer will not solve your problem. It will continue. You will have to cull the dear for as long as you live here,” she said.

As of right now there is no timeline for when the Tellico Village Property Onwers Association board might make a decision. They have another meeting later this month and are planning a count of the deer around the beginning of November.

Christopher said if the cull is approved, the meat from the deer will be processed and given to feed people at the Good Shepherd Center in Madisonville.

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