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Council approves urban deer report and recommendations

Deer in River

At the regular meeting May 10, Council approved the Urban Deer Task Force’s report and recommendations.

The Task Force’s key recommendation is to create a comprehensive Urban Deer Management Strategy with annual action plans based on the options and tactics within the strategy.  

“The report and recommendations illustrate that effective deer management requires a number of different tactics and approaches. This very comprehensive document provides the Town with the research and guidelines to develop a long-term program for managing the deer in our community,” Mayor Bill Robertson said.

The strategy includes nine key action items to manage deer population, decrease negative human-deer interactions, decrease property damage, and increase public awareness of individual actions residents can take to maintain a respectful, safe relationship with urban deer.

The Task Force members reviewed academic research, as well as speaking with representatives from other municipalities, Fish and Wildlife, non-profit wildlife groups and Okotoks staff to clarify issues, identify challenges and explore various options available for managing deer in urban settings.

“Through the research and our conversations with other municipalities facing similar deer situations, it became clear that there is no simple answer to managing wildlife in an urban setting,” said Task Force Chair Grant Pryznyk. “The management strategy that we are recommending provides a number of strategies and tactics that need to be implemented to achieve success.”

The Town has already implemented one of the recommendations with a temporary fencing pilot project currently underway. This provides residents with the option of protecting their gardens by extending their fences to deter deer from getting into their yards.

Administration will now begin developing an action plan based on the recommendations.

Full report