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Penticton  

Counting deer to cull

The City of Penticton conducted the first phase of its deer cull program this past Friday when about 20 volunteers scoured the city counting deer.

The 'spring deer count' indicated 20 adult mule deer were alive within city boundaries that day.

The count is part of the deer cull program approved by City Council back in January.

The spring count will help determine how many deer will be captured and culled.

"Conducting a deer count is among the first steps of due diligence to be taken under the city's Urban Deer Management Strategy," says Director of Development Services, Anthony Haddad.

"City staff has to provide council with as many details and background information as possible to inform their decision."

About 20 volunteers were broken into teams who were then assigned one of nine segments of the city in which to count.

"We expected to find a low number in the city," says Haddad.

"Ministry staff has indicated to us that spring is often the time of year during which does hide away with their fawns."

A fall deer count is also likely to occur, as history shows that counts at different times of year results in varying numbers.

Haddad says the additional information will be valuable in determining the seasonal habits of deer and pinpointing problem areas within the city.

The information gathered Friday will make up part of a report council will receive next month with options to manage the urban deer problem in Penticton.

As part of the city's Urban Deer Management Strategy, a bylaw has been adopted prohibiting the feeding of deer within city limits. 

A fine of up to $200 can be imposed to anyone caught feeding deer.

Council also approved a $10,000 budget item for the culling of deer in the 2012 municipal budget.

The estimated cost for the entire cull of a deer, including the marksmen, butcher and distribution of the meat, $150 per deer.

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