Cheektowaga's bait-and-shoot program to reduce the number of deer is under way for the third year.
"It started the last week in December," said John J. Jaroszewski, director of Cheektowaga's Parks Division.
The town enacted the bait-and-shoot program to reduce the number of deer-vehicle accidents, and last year, for the first time since 2002, the number of accidents went down.
Police sharpshooters are taking the deer at night from three locations: Stiglmeier Park, town-owned land off Walden Avenue near Harlem Road and the Erie County overflow-retention facility off Cayuga Creek Road.
"Those areas are chosen because of high deer population, and they're the safest place to do it," Capt. John Glascott said.
The permit allows the town to shoot 150 deer this season. One town source said 14 had been killed so far. The venison is donated to the Food Bank of Western New York. Last year, 150 deer were taken, and the year before, 78.
Under the Deer/Vehicle Accident Reduction Program first designed in 2005, the baiting sites are at least 500 feet from residences. The plan also calls for shooting to be done by no more than two on-duty police sharpshooters during evening hours, with police using .308-caliber rifles with silencers to minimize noise.
"It's a little different without snow," Jaroszewski said.
He said the town is still on the list to have state Department of Environmental Conservation officers complete an aerial count of the number of deer in the town. The last one was done in 2003 and showed 213 in the Stiglmeier Park-Reinstein Preserve area.
The only other indication of how the program is working is looking at the number of deer-vehicle accidents. Last year there were 194 accidents, 15.6 percent lower than the year before. There were 230 in 2005, 227 in 2004, 176 in 2003, 132 in 2002, 182 in 2001, and 156 in 2000.
Glascott said the roads with the highest number of accidents continue to be Losson Road, Borden Road and Como Park Boulevard, near Stiglmeier Park and the state-owned Dr. Victor Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.