Province confirms deer cull underway

Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says a deer cull is currently in progress.

The Ministry of Forests

The Ministry of Forests

An urban deer cull is currently underway in Cranbrook, as confirmed by officials with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

According to information released by the ministry, the City received funding for a cull program earlier in January that is now underway.

Phone calls to the city were not immediately returned.

In March last year, city council asked staff to apply for a wildlife permit from the Ministry that would give them the authority to conduct a cull.

Culling urban deer is a sensitive topic in Cranbrook; the city has conducted four since 2011 in an effort to reduce the urban deer population. Clover traps, which are used by contractors to trap and immobilize the deer, have been vandalized and destroyed in past culls.

While the city has the option of killing deer through culls, it is also one out of four communities in the region that is participating in an urban deer translocation study that is currently in it’s second year.

The study captured urban deer in East Kootenay communities and removed them to winter ranges where they are being monitored through radio collars. Roughly 20 ungulates were taken from the Cranbrook area alone.

The last cull occurred a year ago when the city reported 20 deer were killed over a six-week period. Last year’s cull cost $10,374 that was budgeted for $15,000.

After last year’s cull, Mayor Lee Pratt reiterated his support for the urban deer translocation study, but also said the city isn’t afraid to discount culls as an option for population control.

According to the latest city report with data on urban deer, 137 ungulates were recorded in Cranbrook in November 2015.