Cranbrook Council cancels controversial cull

Deer count will estimate minimum number of beasts in town; complaints down this year, committee finds

  • Oct. 9, 2013 3:00 p.m.
Cranbrook’s urban herd can rest a little easier this year.

Cranbrook’s urban herd can rest a little easier this year.

Cranbrook urban deer are safe for the rest of the year, since the city won’t be doing a deer cull this fall.

At the regular meeting Monday night, council approved a recommendation from the Urban Deer  Management Advisory Committee to do a deer count but skip the cull.

“Basically the way we’ve been determining how and where to do the cull has been based on complaints to the deer council,” said Coun. Bob Whetham, who is a member of the deer committee as well. “So they are focused on particular areas where we had issues with public safety concerns.”

However, this year they’ve found that complaints are down.

Whetham said the most recent count is from earlier this year, so it’s hard to pinpoint the number of deer in the city.

Whetham explained how the deer count is done.

“It’s all conducted at the same time,” he said. “There is one driver and a spotter and they drive every road and laneway in the city.”

At the same time there are teams spotting deer all over the city and in this way the deer in direct view of the street are counted giving an estimate of the numbers in the city. Deer that are hidden in the bushes or behind fences are not counted.

“Really what it gives you is the minimum number of animals,” Whetham said. “It doesn’t necessarily reflect the total number of deer that are out there.”

Whetham said that since the count is done the same way every time, it is still fairly accurate.

“Overall, there have been a lot less deer in Baker Hill than in the last few years, but they are coming back,” said Coun. Angus Davis, who lives in that area.

Whetham said the committee would conduct another deer count and then perhaps bring back another recommendation next year.

“But one thing that was very important was that it was time to get input on the deer management program in general,” he said, adding that the committee will be putting out a survey. “A lot of information has been made available since we started on this and I think we need to know where the public sits in terms of options available to us and how we should proceed.”

Mayor Wayne Stetski said the civil court case involving urban deer that Invermere is involved in is supposed to be in court this week in Vancouver.

“It’s been delayed a couple of times but they’re hoping that it will actually go through the courts starting this week,” he said.

As part of a referendum ballot on a recreation hall, Invermere will be conducting a survey of residents as to what they want to do around management of urban deer.

Stetski also met with the premier and ministers in Vancouver at the UBCM last month mentioning urban deer management as a top priority. He said the result was the province will be putting together a small committee to look at tools that may be available in the future for dealing with urban deer.

Last year there were 53 deer euthanized by conservation officers after being hit by vehicles and entangled in fences.

Whetham said the education programs combined with more residents fencing gardens and shrubbery has helped to keep the deer numbers slightly lower.

Stetski encouraged people who encounter aggressive deer to phone the CO.

“If they are really aggressive the conservation officer might be able to deal with it, assuming you can identify clearly which one is the aggressor,” he said.