BUFFALO, N.Y.- After 2 On Your Side got a call from a viewer who said the number of deer found grazing on the side of Route 5 near the Tifft Nature Preserve is becoming a public safety concern, we started to investigate.
Even though Route 5 is a state road, state police say each local jurisdiction keeps track of the accidents there. The City of Buffalo and Lackawanna didn't have statistics readily available, but Hamburg Police say there have been 15 deer-related accidents on Route 5 since November 1, 2011. Last year during the same time period, there were four.
Mark Kandel, a wildlife expert with the state Department of Conservation says the deer population in the area has been high for the past ten years.
"We don't have exact numbers," said Kandel, "but the deer population is quite dense in that area, especially considering the amount of habitat available."
He said Buffalo, Lackawanna and the northern part of Hamburg are closed to deer hunting. "...And have never really been open to deer hunting in the last 75 years, so the population is pretty much unchecked," said Kandel.
He says experts have not seen a spike in numbers this year, and the warmer weather has not really impacted the habits of the deer.
"The deer may be more visible because the weather conditions may be more conducive to people getting out and about both to see deer and push deer around to make them more visible," said Kandel.
Tifft Nature Preserve declined the opportunity to speak on camera, but a spokeswoman there said the fence around the preserve isn't meant to keep deer inside, rather it is intended to be a property marker.