'It's getting worse every year': Police urban deer survey shows ballooning population in Helena

Nolan Lister

A recent urban deer survey by Helena Police animal control officers determined the city’s deer population has about doubled in the past year.

The city’s pair of animal control officers traveled fixed routes across Helena from Oct. 12-14 and 17-19, counting any deer they could spot from the route and noting the age, sex, location and distance from the route.

A Helena Police Department animal control officer spots a buck on Oct. 18 during a six-night survey of the urban deer population.

photo courtesy Helena Police Department

On the night of Oct. 17 alone, they counted 144 deer, and Animal Control Officer Roi Tanniehill said in an interview Thursday that number only includes the deer they could see from the animal control truck.

“We counted way more deer this year than last year,” Tanniehill said.

The “deer spotting logs” reveal neighborhoods along Knight Street on the west side and Winne Avenue to be hot spots for herds, prompting frustration among residents.

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