A cull permit is the only tool the province of BC allows the City of Cranbrook to manage its urban deer herd. Barry Coulter photo

A cull permit is the only tool the province of BC allows the City of Cranbrook to manage its urban deer herd. Barry Coulter photo

Cranbrook Council tired of taking the flack for the province’s deer

Council voted to proceed with another cull of the city’s deer herd, but not without some words for the Province of B.C.

Cranbrook City Council is caught between a rock and a hard place as far as its urban deer population is concerned.

At Monday night’s meeting, Nov. 20, Council voted to proceed with another cull of the city’s deer herd, but not without some words for the Province of B.C.

A cull permit — always controversial and with questionable effectiveness — is the only recourse to controlling urban deer allowed the City by the Province. And yet, as the mayor and other councillors pointed out, “they are the province’s deer.”

“We’re sitting here, expected to make the tough decisions, “Mayor Lee Pratt said, “but [the deer are the province’s responsibility].”

The City has received a Wildlife Permit from the Ministry of Forest, Land and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), which allows for the capture and euthanization of up to 50 mule deer or incidental white tail deer, to occur between December 1, 2017, and March 15, 2018.

“I’m still concerned with the safety of our citizens.” Mayor Pratt said. “We are subject to criticism, and some abuse, but by a visible minority.

“I’m not entirely in favour of a cull, but we have to do something.”

City of Cranbrook Communications officer Chris Zettel confirmed the cull permit was the only tool allowed the City by the Province. Deer hazing in other communities (herding the deer out of town using trained dogs) and translocation (sedating, radio-collaring and hauling the deer far away) were done as trial projects. “And that relocation success hasn’t been great,” Mayor Pratt added.

Councillors Danielle Eaton and Wesly Graham ended up voting against the cull.

“I feel it’s a program that does not work,” Eaton said. “I really hope we can push for alternative means of deer management.”

Graham echoed her sentiments.

“I feel the province uses their cull permits as a way out. They are the province’s deer it’s not our problem, but we have to deal with it, and deal with the fallout.”

Count. Ron Popoff, one among the others who voted for the cull, said the public expects the municipality to do something to reduce the deer population.

“The only tool in our toolbox is a hammer,” he said. “It may not be the most effective, but it’s the only one we have.”

The vote was five in favour, two opposed.

“I think it’s time that the majority of citizens who are in favour of the cull to put forward letters of support,” Mayor Pratt said. “And get ahold of their MLA … because I’m tired of taking the flack.”

The cost to the City, assuming that 50 deer are captured, would be $27,500 — $550 per animal. This includes all contractor costs, insurance, training, mileage, meat processing and distribution.

The City will also apply to MFLNRO for matching funding for Cranbrook’s population management program, through the provincial Urban Deer Operational Cost-Share program. If this application is successful, the City will be reimbursed $200 per animal, up to a maximum of $10,000 upon the expiry of the wildlife permit.

This will be the sixth such population management Cranbrook has undertaken. Eighty-eight deer have been culled in total since 2011, ranging from a high of 25 in 2011 to a low of four in 2015, when the program ended early due to trap vandalism.

The City of Cranbrook also reported that data collected by the City and the Provincial RAPP line (the hotline used to report wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk) showed that there has been a decline in the number of reported deer incidents in Cranbrook. Last year, there were 35 complaints to the City, 48 complaints to RAPP, and 23 deceased deer picked up. In 2017, as of November 20, there have been 15 complaints to the City, 24 to RAPP, and 54 deceased deer have been collected.

Deer population counts from 2010 through 2016 show the urban herd is up a bit from previous years.

The urban deer population as of November, 2016, was marked at 142 total animals — males, females, juveniles, and both mule deer and white tails (with mule deer in the majority).

• As of November, 2015: 137

• As of December, 2014: 104

• As of November, 2013: 120

• As of March, 2012: 121

• As of November, 2010: 101

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Eight players aged 19 and 20 on the Kimberley Dynamiters are currently unable to practice with the team due to new COVID-19 restrictions. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL games postponed until December 31

Dynamiters coach reacts to new restrictions

The 2020 Wasa Triathlon was cancelled. Above, the bike portion of the 2019 event. Bulletin file
Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon committee is going ahead with planning 2021 event

Lots of uncertainty, but the committee has decided its too early to cancel

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Interior Health says Salmo’s COVID-19 cases have been contained. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Interior Health: Salmo’s COVID-19 cases are contained

Every person who tested positive has recovered

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read