Three deer were culled over a two-week period after contractors had to navigate challenges such as trap vandalism and a shortened time window under the terms of the wildlife permit.
Hidden trail cameras at one trap location showed an unidentified person releasing a captured deer and those images have been forwarded to RCMP and B.C. Conservation Officers’ Service, who are investigating, according to the city.
The city says it targeted specific areas for deer removal based on complaints of deer aggression made last year. Much of the concern over aggression has focused on white-tail deer and not mule deer, according to statistics cited by the city.
The hides and antlers from the three deer are being donated to the Ktunaxa Nation, while 70 pounds of meat was donated and distributed to three local non-profits.
“The City of Cranbrook remains committed to manage the urban deer population through a combination of population reduction and public education,” reads a press release. “The City continues to work hard to meet the expectations of residents around urban deer management in the community and appreciates the patience and understanding of the public as this work continues.”
A wildlife permit was issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development on Feb. 11 that was valid until March 15, 2019. Under the terms, the permit allowed for the culling of 50 ungulates — 35 mule deer and 15 white-tail deer.
The city had set aside a budget of $27,500, which worked out to $550 an animal.
It was the seventh cull since action was first taken in 2011 to address the urban deer population in Cranbrook, which have removed 138 deer in total.
Under the latest population counts from December 2018, the city said there are 98 white tail deer and 67 mule deer within the urban areas. For both species, the majority of those ungulates are does and juveniles.
The recent total population numbers have dipped from two years ago, as the last count in Nov. 2016 saw 142 white-tails and 120 mule deer within the urban areas.