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Diamond Valley to look into deer population control

Cull discussed as potential option as Diamond Valley council is concerned the deer population is attracting predators to town.
SA-Oh Deer Another Deer BWC 0588 web
The deer issue in Okotoks, where this photo was taken, was mentioned in Diamond Valley council's discussion on deer population management.

Diamond Valley council will be discussing options, including a potential cull, with Alberta Fish and Wildlife to manage the deer population in town.

Amid concern from residents and councillors, civic politicians discussed the issue during their meeting on Jan. 17.

“This comes down to conversations about enforcement,” said Jonathan Gordon, the councillor who initiated the discussion. “When you walk by a beautiful six-point buck and you can rub his nose, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

"There are residents who actually take joy in feeding the animals that come up to their back window."

Gordon emphasized three times in a row that it is illegal to feed wildlife.

A major discussion point for council was the issue of safety, stemming from the deer population attracting predators to town.

"The last two years we’ve had multiple cougar sightings," said Gordon. "I would like to have a conversation sooner rather than later so that we’re not playing catch-up like the community east of us.”

The comparison to Okotoks was additionally noted by Mayor Barry Crane.

"They have thirty plus thousand people and they still have them living in town,” said Crane. "We need to do something about them. I do not like cougars coming into town.”

Crane noted that cougars pose a major risk to children and pets. 

“Not a big fan of going down the path of enforcement but if we need to, then so be it," said Gordon. 

“Is it the right time to have a conversation about a cull, to open that door? It might be, so we’re not playing catch-up.”

Gordon argued that other methods of population control such as sterilization were not effective.

"Council directs administration to begin preliminary conversations with our Fish and Wildlife about potentially culling the deer in town and if that’s a viable option,” said Gordon in the motion he put forward.

Coun. Cindy Holladay requested an amendment, insisting that the word cull not be used.

“Culling is probably farther than what half of our residents would want,” said Holladay. “I think we need to look at other options.”

Holladay proposed increasing hunting licenses in the area and asking neighbouring farmers to let more people hunt as possible alternatives.

The wording of the motion was amended to "options to reduce the deer population" and passed unanimously.

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips, reach out to [email protected].
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