36 deer 'removed' from Point Pelee park in deer cull

Park officials say 36 deer were removed from the park during the deer cull, over a six-day period.

Deer cull took place over 6 days, park was closed for nearly two weeks

Mel Diotte snapped this shot of two deer in the snow while out for a walk New Year's Day. (Courtesy Mel Diotte)

Thirty-six deer were "removed" from Point Pelee National Park during the deer cull, which has now come to an end.

"We're pleased with how the program went and the population is almost where we want it," said Ken Kingdon, resource conservation manager for the park. 

The population was at about 103 deer when park officials did their count in December. Kindgon said those numbers are gathered by aerial surveillance in a helicopter.

He said the deer population can quickly grow without the cull program in place. 

"We know that population can grow when we don't do an active removal program in the park. In past years when we haven't we've seen impacts on the ecosystem and the deer population increase quite significantly."

Park staff and members of Caldwell First Nation took part in the cull this year that spanned over a six-day period. Kingdon said they take a few days off in between "active removal" for the deer population to "settle down" in between shooting days. 

In a media statement, Parks Canada said the deer reduction is part of a multi-year plan to restore the forest and savannah ecosystems.

The park officially reopened to the public on Tuesday. 

Kingdon says he recognizes the inconvenience for regular visitors. 

"The weather hasn't been the greatest today. But people do miss the park when it's not open."