Kimberley’s Urban Deer Committee met last Friday, along with representatives from Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development and the Conservation Officer Service, City Councillors Darryl Oakley and Kent Goodwin and City CAO Scott Sommerville.
Raising from the meeting was a recommendation that will now go to City Council.
The recommendation is that the City of Kimberley apply for a permit to remove up to 40 deer by translocation.
This is still under the auspices of the translocation trial, although Oakley says that the goal is to make translocation operational.
“We won’t need to put collars on the deer this time, so that’s less expense, but these deer will still likely be tagged to say where they come from.”
The other piece that will remain is that the City is responsible for removing any deer that end up in another community.
That has been an issue in Canal Flats, where several Kimberley deer eventually settled.
“The CO service has removed three deer from Canal Flats that had been showing signs of aggression,” Oakley said. “If an animal is proving a danger, COs can remove it immediately. It’s the ones that are just hanging around that require a permit for removal. It is not the mandate of COs to remove an animal that is just hanging around.”
It has been somewhat frustrating, Oakley admits, as it is the provincial government that insists that the city of Kimberley make that responsibility for these animals a part of the translocation permit, but it is also the provincial government that is delaying the issuing of the permit to deal with the animal in Canal Flats.
However, Oakley says it appears the permit is finally on the way to deal with that animal.
Kimberley conducted two deer counts in December. The first counted 51 deer, the second 77. There are always going to be some deer missed in counts, so Oakley says the government biologist made the call to use 77 as the number.
That includes 36 juveniles/fawns, 28 does and 13 bucks.
“There has been a dramatic decline in the number of bucks,” he said. “That is likely because there aren’t as many does around either. Last year there over 35 bucks in town, this year, 13 were counted.”
Of those 13 counted, four were two point bucks, four were three point and there were four points.
“The four points are big animals, almost the size of an elk,” Oakley said. “With the numbers down, the committee has decided not to try to translocate bucks this year. We will be removing juveniles and does.”
While the ultimate goal is to get the deer population down to about 30, Oakley believes 50 is a fairly realistic number right now.
“We’re just trying to keep the density low. The reality is you have problems when the numbers are over 100.”
With a couple of years of moving deer out by translocation, Oakley says there have been less deer killed by cars in town and also less complaints.
“If we are down to around 50, the community is safer.”