Sharpshooter to cull deer population at Tega Cay golf course

The city of Tega Cay will use a sharpshooter to eliminate some of its deer population starting next week.

There have been more than 1,100 deer in an area that is about the size of 3.4 square miles, officials said.

On Thursday, officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources granted the town permission to double the number of deer that can be culled. That number must still be approved by the city council at its meeting on Monday.


The culling process would take about two weeks at the golf course.

Not all residents support the effort.

“There’s always the possibility for an accident,” resident Heather Jones said. “Bullets don’t always follow the path they’re supposed to even with the best safety precautions.”

Contractors have been working with staff members to identify locations on the golf course, said Joey Blethen, the deputy city manager.

“The first priority is where they can safely shoot not having to worry, because there are houses around the golf course,” he said.

The city will post warning signs around the course and off-duty officers will help secure the area, Blethen said.

City leaders will have to vote to approve killing 160 deer at their meeting on Monday night.

“Our current numbers are pretty staggering and through speaking with wildlife experts, 80 is just a drop in the bucket and 160 would be more impactful to helping us manage the herd,” Blethen said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide the sharpshooter.

Chuck Caravello, who uses a leaf blower to keep the deer away from his house, said the plan is a step in the right direction.

“They eat a lot and they eat everything they can get their mouth on. So, it’s hard to have a nice lawn,” he said.

Blethen said this is the first step.

The town will investigate other options in the future including sterilization and birth control.

The culling process starts Monday and is scheduled to go through Feb. 5.

The golf course and surrounding paths will be closed to the public from dusk until dawn during that time.

City leaders said the sharpshooter will use a silencer so there won’t be any noise.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Way overpopulated’: Tega Cay considering birth control for deer)