The Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations has granted the city a permit that allows for a population reduction of the urban deer herd anytime between Dec. 1, 2014 to March 15, 2015.
“That permit allows us to reduce the population by 50 animals,” noted CAO Wayne Staudt at Monday night’s city council meeting.
Staudt pointed out that the permit is just one part of the process, and a move for a cull would still have to come from council decision.
That process would also include a deer population count by the Urban Deer Management Committee. The count is planned for this fall though no date has been set as of yet.
Coun. Denise Pallesen asked whether the city had a contractor lined up for a cull. Staudt said the city did not.
“Council hasn’t even decided whether we would proceed with any reduction of the herd using this permit or not,” Staudt said. “So we have not contracted this out or request for proposal at this time.”
Coun. Angus Davis noted jokingly that from his count, the deer population is thriving.
“Just as an item of information I want you to know that the 11th Avenue herd — all five generations of it — are doing well,” Davis said.
He noted the herd is often in his yard.
The city made the permit application to the province after an unanimous approval of council at the July 14, 2014 meeting.
Mayor Wayne Stetski was quick to point out at that meeting that even if the permits are granted, it will likely be up to the next sitting council to approve any culls. The municipal election is Nov. 15, which means there is only one more council meeting on Nov. 3, before then.
In February 2013 council approved a cull of 30 deer, with plans to cull more in the fall of 2013. However the cull was canceled upon recommendations from the Urban Deer Management Advisory Committee.
The committee recommended canceling because the number of complaints about urban deer was down from the year before.
The committee focused on areas where they had public safety concerns with the deer.
Back in November of 2011, Cranbrook conducted the first cull in the East Kootenay communities. Cranbrook culled 25 urban deer — 11 white-tail and 14 mule — using clover traps.
Kimberley culled 100 deer in January 2012, and Invermere was set to cull 100 deer in February 2012 before a court injunction put a hold on the plans.
Eventually Invermere was able to cull 19 deer before its permit expired.