Winter urban deer cull program approved
City of Cranbrook council last night (Oct. 28) unanimously voted to direct city administration to conduct an urban deer cull program through the winter months.
The decision follows a report provided to council by staff after the city received a Wildlife Permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) on Thursday October 10, which permits the capture and euthanization of up to 70 deer (up to 60 mule deer and up to 10 white-tailed deer). The permit is effective December 1 and expires on March 31, 2020.
“As much as I hate this is our only option – I am going to support it,” said Coun. Mike Peabody. “It looks like the amount of issues with aggressive deer is just increasing and if this is the only thing we can do, we have to do something to protect our citizens.”
Coun. Wayne Price said he agreed with Peabody. “This is the only option we have available if we like it or not,” he said.
Coun. John Hudak said he remains concerned about how the deer population can serve to draw predators into town. “If we keep rolling the dice on this one we’re going to end up having a predator – human conflict,” he said.
“We’re going to, yet again, get the community all excited about the cull,” said Coun. Ron Popoff. However, “the numbers aren’t improving; they’re getting worse” and the city faces no other choice. “This just creates an annual frustration we all engage in.”
Popoff also noted he’d like city staff to explore any other options that may be available.
Coun. Norma Blissett pointed out that aside from one year, the city hasn’t culled the number of deer allowed by licence.
“There is basically very little data on the impact of an actual cull. Not that I like killing deer but we need to do this. There are so many complaints about aggressive deer and I am, not talking about the perimeter of the city. When I lived up near Idlewild Park, I expected deer in my yard but it’s a little different when you’re crossing main street (Baker). That’s more of a concern to me – the downtown deer population.”
said Mayor Lee Pratt stated, “I say this every year; but from my standpoint we have to do a cull for the safety of our residents. Plain and simple, safety is number one. Secondly, I have to say, it’s not ‘our’ cull. It’s our cull but the provincial government is the one that is in control of this and they say they are our deer but it’s their deer and they make the rules.”
The provincial government hasn’t managed wildlife and predators properly, Pratt said.
“We don’t make the rules; we just have to play them,” said, adding the province “needs to get their act together and decide how they are going to deal with these things.”
The maximum cost to the city for the this cull program will be $45,500 provided the contractor is able to reach 70 animals as indicated in the Wildlife Permit. This figure breaks down to $650 per deer which includes all trap and equipment set up and tear down, contractor mileage and all meat processing and distribution costs.
City administration is also seeking a resolution of council supporting an application to the Provincial Urban Deer Cost Share Program (PUDOCS), which is designed to provide local governments with funds to help manage urban deer issues through both operational and research projects.