Neighborhood association suggests proposal to mediate dispute over Corkscrew deer

A deer feeds in Corkscrew Swam Sanctuary despite an arrow embedded in the deer's left side.  Courtesy Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

A deer feeds in Corkscrew Swam Sanctuary despite an arrow embedded in the deer's left side. Courtesy Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Video from NBC-2

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples, FL

A proposal to mediate a dispute over deer in a rural Collier County neighborhood is getting a cool reception this morning.

Controversy has enveloped the neighborhood on the edge of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary since a nursery owner on Sanctuary Road received a state permit to hunt deer that eat his tropical trees. He blames the problem on a neighbor feeding the deer.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the Corkscrew Island Neighborhood Association proposed a two-month moratorium on the nursery owner hunting the deer and on his neighbor feeding them.

Association Secretary Douglas Wilson said this morning that he doesn't know whether the nursery owner, N. Lewis Lesser, or the neighbors, Truman and Mary Jane Gay, will agree to the moratorium to see whether it fixes the problem at the nursery.

"All we can say is we're hopeful that they will," Wilson said.

Lesser could not be reached for comment but the Gays said this morning that they plan to keep feeding the deer.

"These deer aren't leaving even if we quit feeding them," Mary Jane Gay said.

She said the entire neighborhood enjoys the deer, which feed on acorns, grass and wild fruit trees besides what the corn the Gays put out for them.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary managers had hoped that Lesser would agree to have the sanctuary pay for a fence to be erected around his nursery, but managers say Lesser no longer is interested in that plan.

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