Farmers in Garden are dealing with a loss of crop. Hundreds of deer are destroying the vegetation. The Department of Natural Resources is aware of the problem, but one farmer is asking the agency to do more.
"It starts 3, 4 o'clock in the afternoon, you start to see a few deer, but then you get into 6, 7, 8 o'clock and, I mean, the fields are just infiltrated with deer," said George Leckson, farmer.
Hundreds of deer camp out every night right on George Leckson's farm fields. Leckson says seeing deer isn't unusual, but this year is the worst and he's seen at least 800 of them.
"You know, the snow melting and the frost coming out, everything is damaged. They are pulling everything right off the ground," Leckson explains.
The deer are eating his crops, destroying his alfalfas, winter wheats and grain fields, leaving dirt behind.
"You still fertilize and you still spend the money, but you get nothing, so it makes you sick, really, to see that," Leckson said.
At least 25 percent of Leckson's crops are damaged and that's costing him on average between $20,000-$50,000. That is money he is not going to get back on this year's harvest.
The Department of Natural Resources is trying to compensate his loss by issuing 5-10 crop damage permits for his 1100 acres. Leckson says it's not enough. In the meantime, the DNR hopes the problem will solve itself.
"Some of them are not resident deer. They are deer that are passing through, moving back to the North to their summer range. So it creates a unique problem where there's no easy solution," said Kevin Swanson, wildlife biologist.
Leckson says he doesn't have time to wait for them to leave on their own.
"We've got to move a lot of deer or kill a lot of deer," Leckson adds.
The Department of Natural Resources continues to monitor the situation.