Deer on the agenda

Kimberley’s urban deer population down 50 per cent in latest counts; Committee recommends cull of 25 to 30

There are fewer deer in Kimberley this winter. That fact is corroborated by the latest counts taken in November of 2012 and by personal observations by members of the Urban Deer Committee and others.

Counts in 2011 had 240 deer in Kimberley. In 2012, there were 126 animals.

“The decrease is largely due to the deer cull in 2012, but also to a number of other factors such as natural mortality and human behaviour modifications,” says Deer Committee Chair Gary Glinz in a report to Council.

By human behaviour modification, Glinz means fewer people are feeding deer.

Given those numbers, there are a number of different directions Council can head, Glinz told Council on Monday evening.

In Managing for the Future, the committee report accepted by Council last summer, the recommendation for dealing with a deer population at 50 per cent of the 2011 deer counts was that a permit be requested for culling 25 to 30 deer based on a number of criteria including population density and incident data.

Glinz did recommend to Council that they apply for a permit to cull 25 to 30 deer.

“That doesn’t say you will take those deer,” he said. “We need to gather data on complaints, then decide whether to set traps. You may decide not to, but the data will help.”

He also said to representatives from the Animal Alliance and Humane Treatment of Urban Wildlife, “We are not that far apart”, in terms of finding ways to deal with urban deer.

Glinz said that everyone who took part in the latest deer counts was trained in proper counting — how to recognize age, species etc.

“I also want to recognize the community for stopping feeding deer. People are trying to help us.”

He also said that the Deer Committee will be meeting with hazing experts in March and once they have talked to them, the committee will make a recommendation to Council.

“The committee continues to support investigating and implementing legal, effective and practical non-lethal methods for managing urban deer.”