While up to 100 urban deer will be culled in Invermere in the coming months, the district’s other plan for dealing with the problem animals isn’t getting much provincial support.
The cull will likely get underway in early February, mayor Gerry Taft told The Echo. It will be the third urban deer cull the B.C. government has granted a permit for this winter, after operations in Cranbrook and Kimberley, where contractors trapped and put down 25 and 100 deer, respectively.
As in the other two communities, the province will provide Invermere with clover traps and bolt guns to dispatch the animals, but no funding to pay contractors. Council met yesterday to discuss budgeting for the program and hire its contractor, but the outcome of that meeting was not available at press time.
Cranbrook’s much smaller cull cost the city about $13,000, while Taft says Invermere council will look at spending $35,000 of its 2012 budget on killing deer.
All three interior culls are being closely watched by cities in the Lower Mainland, and at least two municipal governments — Nanimo, and Vancouver Island’s Capital Regional District — are considering similar action to deal with their own problem ungulate populations.
But when District of Invermere council signed off on a cull last summer, it was part of a two-part strategy proposed by the community’s Urban Deer Committee that would also see deer trapped and relocated, possibly in the spring of 2012. The committee’s report, which also evaluated other deer management options such as community fencing and sharpshooting, did not provide numbers of deer to be targeted for killing or relocation.
While the report said the government might agree to relocated deer to the Upper Kootenay River Valley, Taft says the district hasn’t seen much enthusiasm provincially for the plan.
“Although they technically say it is still an option, they have yet to suggest or approve any suitable areas to relocate the deer to,” he says, adding the district is hoping to re-form its Urban Deer Committee, which would do more investigation on the subject.
In the meantime, Invermere’s cull will begin once Kimberley’s wraps up, most likely next month. The district is collecting names of property owners willing to have traps placed on their proper, and also maintains a list of places in the community where deer complaints have been made, Taft says.
“As best as possible we will try to match the problem areas with people who give permission to place the traps on their private property,” he says. “If people want to offer the use of their property, they can add their name to a list at the DOI (office).”