Deer committee gets double last year's numbers

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
May 7th, 2014

The spring deer count numbers are in — and they are up. Deer counters found 166 deer in town last week, a number that is almost double from the previous year. 

However, Grand Forks city councillor Gary Smith said that doesn’t necessarily mean there are actually twice as many deer within the city limits. A lot of variables can affect the count. Last year, the count was done in June when deer are mating and are more secluded. 

“There are so many factors,” said Smith. “The time of day… weather… it’s not the most scientific.”

Even though it’s not an exact science, keeping track of the deer helps the deer committee know what is going on in Grand Forks and what kind of plan they want to recommend to city council. 

Nine deer counters met April 25, bright and early and headed out around town to seek out city deer. They divided the city into five zones and two people go to each section to count deer. Normally they have at least 10 people doing the count. This year they were short one person so a single individual did the count in the zone that had the lowest number of deer — near Hutton Elementary School. 

Smith says he doesn’t know why the deer numbers are lower in that region, but that there appear to be around three or four herds in town and they prefer to gather around some of the wetter marsh areas in the city. 

He’s hoping to see some resources going towards monitoring the deer more closely. The city might be able to get some grant money from the Ministry of Environment — they would match the city’s investment dollar for dollar — and the money would be used to get a collar on one deer in each of the herd. Smith feels this information would let them know where the deer go and what they are drawn to, whether it’s feeding patterns or possibly houses where they are getting a supply of food. That would allow the deer committee to make a stronger plan on managing the deer population. 

He encourages deer committee members to come out to the next meeting, adding the last meeting didn’t have a quorum. The meeting is May 16 at the “Old Canpar” office building (6641 Industrial Park Way) from 11 to 1 p.m. The public is welcome to attend, but won’t be able to participate in the meeting. 

Anyone interested in joining the deer committee should talk to Smith, who says they would be happy to have new members who have a background in a related field of study — possibly biology. 


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