City conducts count of urban deer population

The City of Penticton conducted a fall count of urban deer within its boundaries Wednesday under the guidance of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Management.

"Conducting deer counts twice annually is important due diligence under the City's urban deer management strategy and consistent with the approaches taken by other municipalities dealing with this issue," said Anthony Haddad, Director of Development Services.

"City staff has to provide Council with as many details and background information as possible to inform their decisions."

Early on Wednesday morning, approximately twenty-five staff members and community volunteers met at City Hall for an orientation meeting on conducting the fall deer count. They were provided information to assist them from representatives of the Ministry and City staff, including how to identify fawns versus adult deer during the current stage of development.

Volunteers were put into teams - consisting of a driver and at least one counter per vehicle - which were then assigned one of nine segments of the City. Each vehicle drove its respective route, and returned to City Hall with the count for its area. The fall count indicated 49 deer were alive that day within the urban residential area of the City. The spring count yielded 20 mule deer.

Staff will compile the information collected during the urban deer count and provide an updated report for Council. Follow-up deer counts are also likely to occur, as best practices in other municipalities indicate that counts at different times of the year have resulted in varying numbers - with fall counts typically higher than spring counts. This is valuable information in determining the seasonal habits of deer and pinpointing problem areas in the City.

Since September 2011, the City of Penticton has been working on a plan to manage the urban deer issue.

An Urban Deer Management Strategy was adopted by Council in late 2011 and further refined in early 2012. On Jan. 23, 2012 Council adopted a bylaw that prohibits the feeding of deer within the City of Penticton. Prohibiting the feeding of deer is considered to be a contributing factor in assisting with the reduction of the urban deer population.

For more information about the City of Penticton's Urban Deer Management Strategy, as well as previous staff reports and provincial resources on urban deer conflicts, visit the Urban Deer Management page on the City website.