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Cranbrook applies for cull permit

Cranbrook will be applying for a wildlife permit to cull up to 50 deer in 2014. Council approved the move, which directs city administration to apply for the permit through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Mayor Wayne Stetski was quick to point out at the Monday, July 14 meeting, that even if the permits are granted, it would likely be up to the next sitting council to approve any culls, as there is a municipal election coming in November.

"The way I read this one is even if council decides tonight to approve the request for up to 50 deer, for permits that are required, it does not mean that that is going to happen," he said.

"Potentially the decision to cull or not cull may very well be a decision of the next mayor and council," said Stetski.

Coun. Bob Whetham said these are basically the recommendations that came out of the Cranbrook Urban Deer Management deer survey conducted in May. Whetham sits on the committee. The survey pointed to a majority of residents wanting the city to reduce the urban deer herd.

"I think the message is pretty strong that they are asking for support from council to try to do something to mitigate the problem," Whetham said. "Previously we found that all the reported — or nearly all the reported — incidents with aggression involved people with dogs. This time we found that there were people reporting aggressive behaviour even when they didn't have dogs. That's something new to us and I think that's something we have to act on."

He said the options available to manage deer are still limited, as the only option currently sanctioned by the province is culling.

Mayor Stetski noted that he is on a committee looking at translocation of deer.

"Whether or not that would happen this fall, we're still trying to work through some of the details on it," Stetski said. "There certainly is an interest in trying two translocation projects in the East Kootenay involving two communities of which Cranbrook would be one of them. That potentially would have 20 animals move from each of these two communities."

Stetski said it is preliminary at this time and may not happen before October or November.

In the report, the urban deer committee noted that it believes another deer count would be necessary in 2014 prior to conducting any population reduction measures. The province has also purchased 10 new clover trap frames and heavy netting to replace the traps vandalized in Kimberley and Cranbrook earlier this year.

CAO Wayne Staudt said to his understanding, the city would just be applying for the permits and not required to do a cull.

"You need to get in line for these permits and get in line for the administrative process," Staudt said.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said council did get a lot of support from residents for further deer control measures.

"If we don't apply for one and don't get it, then want to do one, we're hooped," Scott said.

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