Report on Kimberley’s deer cull received by Council

The ins and outs of Kimberley's controversial deer cull last winter

Kimberley City Council approved and received another report on the urban deer issue at Council Monday evening, this time the City’s report to the province on Urban Deer Management.

The report was written by Ron Keer, Urban Deer Control Coordinator and Irene Teske, Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, and outlines the history, process and results of the deer cull carried out in January of this year in Kimberley.

The report says that 101 deer were trapped over a 28 day period in January 2012.

Of those, two were whitetail deer and were released unharmed.

45 adult female mule deer were trapped, 35 juveniles (20 female, 15 male) and 19 males,  for a total of 99 mule deer culled.

By zone, there were 37 deer taken in Marysville (17 females, 4 males and 16 juveniles); 4 in Chapman Camp (4 females); 32 in Blarchmont (13 females, 7 males and 12 juveniles); 14 in the Swan Sub (7 females, 2 males and 5 juveniles; 4 in Townsite (1 female, 3 males) and 8 downtown (3 females, 3 males and 2 juveniles).

Traps were located at 14 different sites. The report says that 62 residents requested a trap on their property, but not all properties were suitable for a trap.

Traps were placed in high priority areas based on aggressive deer complaints and/or high numbers of deer.

The cull was focussed on adult mule deer to reduce incidents of aggression, as the majority of complaints seem to be about aggressive does. Bucks were not targeted but were culled if they entered the traps. As well, removing juveniles was part of an attempt to reduce the overall population which was continuing to grow.

The report says that if the urban deer population continued to grow unabated, in five years the number would have doubled.

It is concluded that the objective to remove deer from areas where most of the aggressive deer complaints originated was met.

The majority of deer were removed from Marysville and Blarchmont. The 2010 and 2011 deer counts were 110 deer in Marysville (50 per cent of Kimberley’s total) and 25 per cent of the aggressive deer complaints originated in Marysville.

About 55 deer were counted in Chapman Camp/Blarchmont, though few deer were removed from Camp as private properties were either not suitable for trapping or in conflict with neighbours.

Deer trapping in Townsite was stopped early following concerns from a number of residents who opposed the cull.

One important point which Kimberley Councilor Darryl Oakley pointed out, was that BC SPCA special Provincial Constable Jeremy Irons asked to accompany the contractors to observe the cull and he left satisfied that it was being carried out in a “professional and proper” manner.

“I was happy to see the BCSPCA involved,” Oakley said. “Culling deer is not a fun process, no one enjoyed it but the  SPCA had concerns before observing and after, they felt it was being done in a humane manner.”

All the culled deer were found to be in good health and 4300 pounds of hamburger was wrapped and frozen. The Kimberley Food Bank received 2220 pounds the Street Angels group received 2,070 pounds.

22 of the female deer were samples to determine if they were pregnant — 20 of them were, with 50 per cent of those pregnant with twins.

The provincial government spent $16,200 on the trapping equipment, which was loaned to the City of Kimberley. The City of Kimberley spent $38,454 on contractors, mileage, bait and meat processing.

See more on the cull report in tomorrow’s Bulletin.