Oh deer! What is the Town doing?

You don’t need to travel very far in Saint Andrews before you encounter deer. Council hears the concerns of residents and believes that the current situation is untenable. Our residents are entitled to safe enjoyment of their properties, which is currently not possible due to concerns related to property damage, ticks and other pests / diseases, children not having free access to play in their own yards, incidents of charging animals, and vehicle incursions. Visitors who are unaware of the safety issues could also be at risk while driving and walking in Town.

In the fall of 2017, the Town asked UNB to conduct a deer management study. The study included a door-to-door survey of residents, a deer count, research on deer herding/migration/reproduction patterns, and possible solutions which are being used in other jurisdictions to manage the deer population. Some of the interesting findings included:

  • The deer population appears to have become a problem after the 2010 Route #1 Gateway Highway construction stranded the population on the peninsula;
  • The ideal urban deer density rate is 3-5 deer/km2. The density in Saint Andrews is 13/km2.
  • 84% of Town residents believe that deer are a problem;
  • Although expensive, an intensive cull combined with an annual nuisance hunt for population maintenance is recommended.

The authority for wildlife control lies with the Provincial government. Town Council made a request to Minister Rick Doucet earlier this year to approve a deer relocation program, which would’ve seen a number of deer moved to an area within the Province which has seen a decline in the population. The Minister did not approve this request. The Minister has, however, approved a Nuisance Deer Hunt within Town limits. This program allows bow hunters to harvest one antlerless deer from Oct.01-Nov.17. This will be the third year for the program. It requires landowners to register at the Town Office, and hunters to register with the Dept. Energy and Resource Development.

We believe (supported by the UNB Study) that this program is not sufficient for managing the population, and Council is asking the Minister to consider additional measures, including:

  1. For the Saint Andrews NDMAP, allow a limited number of highly qualified bow hunters, but allow them to harvest more than one animal.
  2. We propose that the meat harvested as outlined above could be disposed, or hunters allotted a Wildlife Transfer Permit for transferring the meat to a qualified butcher for inspection and distribution through the local food bank.
  3. Allow a limited number of highly qualified bow hunters to hunt on properties having a reduced lot size / proximity limit.
  4. Four locations in Canada have received an Experimental Study Certificate from Environment Canada for a birth control program called SpayVac. We have discussed the program with its developer and he believes it is a program that will work for us. We now seek endorsement from the province for our application to become an Experimental Study test site for the program, and further, to share in the cost of the program.

How can you help? 

If you are concerned about this issue, be sure to forward your concerns to Rick Doucet, Minister of Dept. Energy and Resource Development.

If you are a landowner within Town limits (private property greater than 1 acre, or neighbouring properties with a combined 100 meter buffer), consider registering your property for the Nuisance Deer Hunt. You will have the opportunity to control who hunts on your property and when.

If you are a bow hunter, register for the hunt with Dept. Energy and Resource Development office in St.  George (755-0040).

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