Within the latest Deer Management Report received by Kimberley City Council this week are three sets of recommendations — to the City, the Province and the Contract Coordinator of any future culls.
Mayor Ron McRae said he was pleased to see that the recommendations in the latest report are very similar to those recommended by the Urban Deer Advisory Committee in their report, received last month.
• Provide information on deer-resistant landscaping, with reference to nurseries offering native plants, and/or deer-resistant plants, use of repellents, and fencing options through brochures, mail outs and websites;
• Combine public information messaging on deer problems with other printed information on reducing bear problems, predator avoidance issues and other deterrents to reduce wildlife/human conflicts;
• Install seasonal signs in strategic points to inform residents and visitors that feeding deer is prohibited;
• Disseminate information about urban deer management techniques and strategies as deemed necessary;
• Promote tougher enforcement on keeping dogs leashed and away from deer to avoid conflict/
•Promote strong messaging about stopping deer feeding practices;
• Pursue a partnership agreement between the City of Kimberley, the Government of B.C. and/or Government of Canada to provide sufficient funds to offset start-up costs and annual program costs;
• Complete and submit the necessary applications for ministry review;
• Contact other communities with similar deer problems to determine if they wish to partner with Kimberley for this program in their community.
• Contractors to implement the cull program must have professional training.
To the above point, the contractors for the last cull attribute much of the program’s professionalism to the training and contact they had with the Helena, Montana cull program.
Contract Coordinator recommendations:
• The Ministry should be asked to provide an additional 10 modified clover traps. If more traps were available, other communities with deer problems could trap simultaneously, rather than having to wait for one community to complete their program.
• The maximum number of traps that two contractors should be expected to work with is 10. The rationale is that the program is labour intensive and traps are set late at night and checked early in the morning. Averaging four to six deer each night and checking any more than 10 traps per day, contractors would be running into daylight hours when removing deer, which is not conducive to the program’s objectives.
Kimberley and other cities and contractors should work with the ministry to develop policies and procedures for urban deer management and specifically cull programs.
• Kimberley should identify, as early as possible, if and when a cull will take place. By doing this the City can escalate its education a program swell in advance of cull dates.
• If the decision is made to cull deer in the future, Council should fully support the decision to eliminate any ambiguity among resident with respect to the City’s obligation to reduce human/deer conflicts and improve public safety.
Coun. Darryl Oakley took some issue with this recommendation, saying he felt Council was in union throughout last winter’s cull and supported the process.
• One of the City’s top priorities should be to provide adequate and up to date information about urban deer. The City’s web page with respect to urban deer issues, problems, solutions and general information should be improved.
• Adopt and enforce a zero tolerance for dogs off leash and introduce an escalating penalty system.
• Adopt and enforce a zero tolerance for feeding or causing deer to be artificially fed within city limits and introduce an escalating penalty system
• Work with contractors early in the cull program to establish adequate lead time to set up a site list for residents who want traps. This is particularly important in areas of high snow fall to keep trap sites snow free until traps are installed. Some residents may be willing to assist if they have advance notice.
• Consider looking for sites where contractor could safely establish bait sites for a sharpshooter program.
• Contractor should be required to maintain adequate records and procedures to the satisfaction of the Ministry’s permit requirements.
• Establish a lawn rehabilitation program to offer grass seed and soil to individuals whose lawns have been damaged during trapping activities.