Tuesday, January 05, 2010

MANITOBA NEWS: Towns Experience Growth in Deer Population

People in Killarney, Man., are trying to figure out how to deal with a population explosion of roaming deer.

The hungry animals are stripping cedar trees and creating a hazard on the streets, where at least six drivers have collided with them, according to Mayor Rick Pauls.

"We definitely have [had] numerous vehicle accidents around here and it's not just on the highway anymore — you can be driving down the street and hitting a deer," Pauls said.

And now coyotes, which prey on deer, have started to wander into town of about 2,300 people, Pauls said.

Killarney is about 220 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, near the Manitoba border with North Dakota.

Pauls said his Killarney-Turtle council is working with Manitoba Conservation on a plan to deal with the animals. Conservation officers will soon head out in a helicopter to get a better handle on what they're up against.

"They're going to count exactly how many deer are located within the town limits," he said. "Then we'll be able to come up with a number of what we want to take them down to. We're either going to trap and relocate them or trap and destroy them."

But some disgruntled residents have already taken matters into their own hands by poisoning or shooting the deer or putting up illegal electric fences, he said.

Pauls isn't sure how the town will pay for the animal control measures, which he estimates could cost close to $1,000 a deer.

He also isn't sure why the deer have come to Killarney but suspects a decline in the number of hunters might have something to do with it.

Pinawa has problem, too

Manitoba deer have also taken up residence in another Manitoba town in recent years. The animals have become so tame around people in Pinawa, about 110 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, that they pester school kids for their lunches.

Deer in Pinawa, Man., have become tame enough to eat from people's hands. (CBC)They can be seen in backyards, on the sidewalks, in schoolyards and sometimes even in the kitchens of local homes.

Jacquelyn Landry told CBC News earlier this year that she came home one day to find her children feeding one in the family kitchen.

The school in Pinawa had to implement new rules after the deer went after kids' lunches. Students must now eat in the school before going out to play.

Anyone caught feeding deer is subject to a $500 fine, although no tickets have been handed out since the town adopted the bylaw in 2002, according to Deputy Mayor Lynn Patterson. Several warnings have been issued instead.

Source: CBC

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