City completes deer cull program

13 mule deer and two whitetail deer culled as City put program into effect in January.

The City of Cranbrook has completed a deer cull program to remove 15 ungulates from the area.

The City of Cranbrook has completed a deer cull program to remove 15 ungulates from the area.

The City of Cranbrook is reporting that 13 mule deer and two white tail deer were culled this past winter, according to a press release issued Wednesday.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations issued a wildlife permit to the city last November allowing for a cull to occur between Dec. 1, 2016, to March 15, 2017. The permit allowed for up to 100 animals to be removed.

The operation began on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 and just over a month for a total of 20 trapping days, with setup and baiting of clover traps.

Nearly 807 pounds of meat was distributed to a number of local organizations for human consumption. All meat preparation was conducted by a qualified butcher and processed in a facility inspected and approved by both Interior Health and MFLNRO.

The deer removal program cost $13,308, or $550 per animal, with an overall budget of $46,108. The money covered costs such as labour, supplies, training, mileage and processing costs. This also includes the costs around releasing white-tail deer, which were not the target of the program.

Traps were deployed based on public complaints received last year, as well as results from an urban deer count conducted in November. The count identified 142 deer — the highest number since the city began keeping track in 2010.

The previous high total was 137 in 2015, while the lowest was 96 in November 2012.

The City faced two significant challenges with this year’s program: the huge volume of snow through January and early February and unexpected health issues which caused the City to lose butcher services.

The City of Cranbrook remains committed to continuing to manage the urban deer population through a combination of population reduction and public education.

The City continues to work hard to meet the expectations of residents around urban deer management in the community and appreciates the patience and understanding of the public.