To cull or not to cull is Kimberley’s question

Counts of Kimberley’s urban deer population are underway now

In looking back at 2012, the culling of 99 mule deer in Kimberley last January was likely the most controversial story of the year.

Kimberley City Council must now make another difficult decision — should another cull be carried out this winter?

According to Mayor Ron McRae, the decision will rest on two factors — numbers gleaned from the 2012 deer count, which is going on this week; and results of the court case launched in Invermere, where a group of residents are suing the District of Invermere for not following proper procedure in terms of public consultation (see story below).

“We are doing one more count this week,” McRae said. “The stats will be compiled and should be released pretty soon. Our hope is to get the information out before Christmas. Whether we do another cull is not all dependent on the counts, but certainly the counts will tell us if there is need for another cull.

According to the Kimberley Urban Deer Management Annual Report, previous counts of urban deer were conducted in Kimberley in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 the deer density was 20 deer per square km. In 2011, there were 24 deer per square km.

See CULL, page 3

The recommended density for urban deer in Helena, Montana which has operated a cull program for several years, is 9.6 deer per square km.

While McRae says it certainly appeared that there were less deer in Kimberley this summer, before more counts are conducted, it’s hard to say whether that is in fact the case.

“We certainly heard that there were not a lot of deer around this summer; I didn’t see as many around my home. But they are starting to appear again in the last month so it’s hard to say.

“And of course the Invermere situation is a factor too. Apparently there will be no judgement on that until January.

“The last thing we want to see happen is to just get tied up in the court system.”

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