Mr. Brian Harris, Wildlife Biologist for the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife gave a presentation to Mayor and Council during the regular meeting of Council on Dec. 2.
His presentation included an explanation of the environmental and social reasons deer occupied towns, the consequences of their doing so and gave options for management.
Conflict reductions such as hazing, repellents, landscaping alternatives were discussed as well as population control techniques like, reduction and fertility control.
Administrative options (some of which Princeton has already done) were mentioned; coordinated deer counts, public education and the amendment of municipal bylaws; banning of ungulate feeding, regulation of land use or type of landscaping and weapon use and hunting.
Councillor Pateman asked about the methods of “spooks” – the way to scare off the deer. “Do you have to keep changing methods?”
Harris replied, “Deer will get used to almost anything, it’s best to keep changing them up.”
Harris noted that he had spoken with Council in 2007 and that Princeton had done a deer count in 2009, but the level of concern with the deer dropped off. “Now it’s back,” he said.
Harris went on to describe what other municipalities had done and were doing and offered the suggestion that Council develop a management plan to further actions already in place. ie) Deer brochure and survey.
“If there was an easy solution, we’d have had it fixed long ago,” said Harris.
Mayor Armitage thanked Harris for the information presented. He then noted that Princeton had paid a ‘big price in the loss of a conservation officer for the area.’ “I hope that something objectively positive can happen,” he said.