Invermere’s cull of up to 100 urban deer could be underway by the weekend, mayor Gerry Taft confirmed today.
Clover traps for the project have arrived in town from Kimberley, where a cull of 101 mule deer wrapped up last week, and Taft says contractor Larry Mullikin has already received training on the bolt guns which will be used to put down the animals.
“It should be set to begin in the next couple of days,” Taft told The Echo Thursday.
District councillors will likely head out to witness the culling process some time next week.
Council agreed to observe the deer-killing process back in January, when it approved Mullikin’s contract and budgeted up to $35,000 for the cull. At the time they also added a cancellation clause to the agreement. Should the majority of council feel the process used to put down the deer is “inhumane,” the cull can be stopped outright.
“They want to check and make sure that that actual traps are functioning, so I’m just speculating at this point. But it’s probably early to middle of next week it’ll be up and running and council will be invited to go out if they want to,” Taft said.
The cull will take place at night, focussing on the core of the district where “the most habituated deer” reside, Taft said.
“There’s been quite an extensive list of residents who’ve volunteered their property and their yards as locations for traps, and the contractor has checked those locations out and found a lot of them to be acceptable and hopefully not super visible to the public,” he added.
“The intention is to be very sensitive of the fact that there are some people who don’t want this to happen, and some people who, although they understand the need for it, don’t want to see it.”
While Cranbrook’s cull of 25 deer late last year appears to have gone smoothly, Kimberley’s cull was punctuated by some vandalism.
In January, the Kimberley Daily Bulletin reported some of the clover traps set up in the community had been triggered before they could trap an animal and at least one was “damaged beyond repair,” according to city councillor Darryl Oakley.
Taft said the district will be working with the RCMP to try to minimize the chance of that happening here, but said vandalism is “a concern.”
“I’m not sure, with a few of the individuals who are very opposed to this, how extreme their opposition might be and what level they’re willing to go to,” he said.