FARMINGTON — At the July 11 selectboard meeting it was announced Sarah Boyden, wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, along with her supervisor and the district game warden will be attending the August 22 selectboard meeting to address concerns raised by some residents regarding the deer population.

At the July 27 meeting, Selectman Dennis O’Neil presented a petition signed by more than two dozen residents from Lake Ave., Stewart Ave., Sunset Ave., Eastmont Square, Granite Heights, and Perham and High streets.

“Eight or nine years ago, it was a cute novelty to see a deer in the backyard,” the petition circulated by Greg and Tracy Williams states. “Since then, the population has exploded. We hear that several people are feeding them – someone on Stewart, another on Granite Heights and maybe someone in Eastmont Square – though we have not personally seen feeders [or looked for them].”

Fifteen years ago during a vacation to Eastport, the Williamses were surprised to see deer on people’s lawns, now they are seeing the same thing in Farmington with deer desensitized and not timid like deer in the wild, the petition notes.

The petition states the deer are becoming a challenge with families not being able to let their dogs out in their yards for fear of them chasing the deer and the damage done by the deer. Flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees have all been eaten with one gardener shutting his vegetable garden down after deer jumped the electric fence he installed and decimated his plants. Deer have even come to eat out of window boxes, according to the petition.

Deer are carriers of ticks and one resident was hospitalized last year with anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease that to that point had only been found in southern Maine.


“This is really the most serious aspect of all of this; how can we justify feeding deer when the ticks they carry can really cause life-altering illness,” the petition notes before asking if there could be an ordinance against in-town deer feeding.

Freeport had a similar problem, hunting was increased, O’Neil noted.

“I fenced my property so the deer can’t get in,” Alton McCleery, a resident of Stewart Ave. said when contacted by The Franklin Journal. “It’s the only way to keep them out. I have about $500 in fencing. I have eight foot deer fencing that goes between my property out back. I have four foot deer fencing out front to keep them out of my flowers.”

The lower height fence works because there is no room for them to jump out, he explained.

“I was out walking, spied a herd of 22 walking between Stewart Ave. and Johnson Heights,” Karyl Condit, who signed the petition and lives on Eastmont Square, said. “Essentially the deer eat anything that is budding or has young growth. My garden looks like it has been clipped off at bud level.”

Condit said she chose not to go the fence route. She doesn’t plant vegetables, only flowers.


“Continual spraying, I did that last summer,” Condit said. “It was way too much work, expense for partial control.”

She noted the economics of the situation: there is no way of growing vegetables without a six foot fence. “They are expensive to install,” she stated.

The issue was talked about when Scott Landry was on the selectboard, Interim Town Manager Cornell Knight said. Landry was going to contact Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the biologist contacted offered to meet, he added.

“I understand the pressure the deer are under,” Condit noted. “We have pushed them out of their habitat. It’s really unfortunate. They are beautiful creatures. They don’t belong here.”

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