Oh 'deer', the count continues
Jun 20, 2012 / 1:52 pm
Penticton city staff will do another deer count in the fall before moving ahead with a capture and cull.
The count will be the second this year and part of Penticton’s plan for controlling the urban deer population.
“I don’t think anyone is rushing into the deer cull,” said Councillor Wes Hopkin. “We want to do this properly. ”
During the spring count on May 18, staff and volunteers drove around looking for the animals. Twenty deer were spotted and there was clear evidence of them in urban areas, but officials believe that number was not entirely accurate.
Among their reasons were many mule deer go uphill to their summer range in the mountains after spending the winter in the city. The count only included deer that were in front yards or moving between homes.
The city has also been monitoring the number of deer in its urban areas through the UrbanDeer@penticton.ca email account. Over 200 complaints have been received via email or telephone calls, most of them from the east end.
Once a fall count is complete an application must be made to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for a wildlife permit for a specific number of deer.
A cull involves trapping, tranquillizing and using a bolt gun to kill the animals. Staff would then work with local food processing plants, food banks and the Penticton Indian Band to deal with the deer meat.
Councillor Garry Litke hopes to have a conversation with learders form other municipalities who also are dealing with a high number of deer, before it comes to that.
“It feels like every municipality around BC is doing it differently and we all seem to be inventing as we go along,” he said. “I would like to see a uniform response.”
Getting rid of wildlife that attracts tourists is not a good idea as far as Penticton resident Dave Magness is concerned.
“People come from all over the world to look at the animals we have here, the deer, marmots and quails,” he said. “It seems like we have to look at how we can do this better."
“Sometimes it seems we want to force civilization on innocent creatures. We have options, they don’t.”
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