On the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 4, Kimberley Bulletin reporter Paul Rodgers accompanied Councillor Darryl Oakley to observe part of the annual urban deer count.
“The annual deer count is conducted by the biologists with Forests Lands Natural Resources. So we covered half of Townsite, very specific neighbourhoods and roads,” Oakley explained. “There’s a team of about 20 volunteers and they’ve all been assigned specific neighbourhoods, streets, together at exactly the same moment, so we don’t have any overlap.”
Within seconds of coming up the hill into Townsite, a large buck with a broken antler strolled past their vehicle. He would be the first of 12 total deer counted in that half of the neighbourhood.
“That information goes to the regional biologist that looks after all of this,” Oakley said. “It will be tabulated and then it comes back to City Council and City Council will receive that report and have a discussion as what next steps will be.”
Oakley explained that Council follows the Managing for the Future document, an urban wildlife document going back to around 2013, with regards to things like fence height bylaws or anti-feeding bylaws.
Based on that, the Kimberley Urban Deer Committee developed a number that was safe in terms of deer in town, which is 125 deer for all of Kimberley.
READ MORE: Kimberley’s annual deer count 2019
If the number counted exceeds 125, in past years, they’ve opted to translocate some of the animals out of town.
“With mass wasting disease, translocation is frowned upon now, so I’m not sure what will happen,” Oakley explained. “The biologists will make recommendations of what to do, and then city council needs to have a conversation around what they’re going to do. If the number’s over, if the number isn’t over then they leave it alone.
“So I think it’s part of the managing for the future which we’ve always followed and this is part of the process. The counts today are reasonably accurate, they’re all done by volunteers at exactly the same moment, so it will be interesting to see what the numbers are.”
Oakley said they should know the total in the week after the biologists tabulate all the data. More to come.