New Brunswick

Hunt and cull: UNB students' solution to deer overpopulation in St. Andrews

Five students at UNB looked at the overpopulation of deer in St. Andrews, and found a hunt and cull response would be the best way to manage the problem.

'They took over the town': five students from UNB found over 100 deer roaming the streets of St. Andrews

The group's research found there were about 100 deer in St. Andrews. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

If residents of St. Andrews want to reduce the deer population in their town, five University of New Brunswick students suggest a hunt and cull would be the best solution. 

The group took on the town's deer problem as their environmental management final year project.

The students went to St. Andrews to study the population, and found about 100 deer in the town. That's 13 deer per  square kilometre, well above the ideal number of three to five.

"Everywhere we went we saw several deer on properties. We saw them even using the crosswalk," said fourth-year student Angela Dick. 

"They kind of just took over the town. They're not afraid of people at all, so clearly something did have to be done about it."

Hunt and cull

The five students will present their findings at the St. Andrews town hall on Monday night. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)
The deer in St. Andrews have been a problem for residents for the past 10 years. In the past, the community has considered shipping deer somewhere else, or having trained border collies drive them away.

The students delivered public opinion surveys door-to-door to find out how the town residents felt about different options for reducing the population.

They found residents weren't opposed to the hunt and cull response. The only method that wasn't supported was chemical euthanasia.

It's been implemented in multiple places, so I don't see any reason why it couldn't be implemented.- Nicole Hornsby

The cull would have a specific spot in the town set up to lure deer there, with a marksman waiting and ready to kill the animals. The hunt would be an in-town bow hunt done by recreational hunters.

Property owners could register a bow hunter for their land, allowing them to hunt on that land. 

The deer have been a problem for St. Andrews residents for the past 10 years. (CBC)
Fourth-year student Nicole Hornsby said she researched different population management plans across North America, and the cull and bow hunt was very common.

"It's been implemented in multiple places, so I don't see any reason why it couldn't be implemented elsewhere within the province of New Brunswick," said Hornsby. 

The group of students will present their research and recommendations at the St. Andrews town hall on Monday. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

With files from Catherine Harrop

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