Cranbrook council approves urban deer cull

Plan proposes the removal of up to 50 urban deer; translocation not an option under wildlife permit

Cranbrook city council has approved a cull of up to 50 urban deer after receiving a wildlife permit from the provincial government earlier in February.

The cull window, which allows for the euthanization of up to 35 mule deer and 15 whitetail deer, is set between Feb. 11 and March 15.

It will be the seventh cull since action was first taken in 2011 to address the urban deer population in Cranbrook, which have removed 138 deer in total.

“I would say this, to those who are still opposed to the cull, I still think it’s a problem we have to deal with,” said Mayor Lee Pratt, after the meeting. “To the those that are in favour of the cull, I’m sorry the province dragged their feet for so long.”

Pratt lamented that the window for the most effective time to trap and euthanize deer — late fall — has come and gone, and predicted the cull won’t be considered a success. He also expressed frustration that the province is downloading its responsibilities of managing urban deer to individual municipalities.

“There’s no other way to say it; the time has gone by where we could have had any success in managing the problem,” Pratt said. “…and that falls on the province.”

Translocation wasn’t an option provided under the terms of the wildlife permit issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNROD), added the mayor.

The proposed budget, based on 50 deer, is $27,500, which works out to $550 an animal, which will cover contractor costs, insurance, training, meat processing and distribution costs.

The wildlife permit is intentionally specific about the number of whitetail deer allowed to be captured, according to a staff report.

Previous permits allowed for the capture of ‘incidental’ white-tail deer, however, FLNROD noted that in the past, the city had trapped and culled more white tail deer than anticipated under the ‘incidental’ provisions.

The city’s report says the ministry has requested better communication between the two organizations for future deer culls.

Under the latest population counts from December 2018, the city says there are 98 white tail deer and 67 mule deer within the urban areas. For both species, the majority of those ungulates are does and juveniles.

The recent total population numbers have dipped from two years ago, as the last count in Nov. 2016 saw 142 white-tails and 120 mule deer within the urban areas.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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