New Brunswick

Province won't relocate nuisance deer, says minister

The minister of energy and resource development promises to address the nuisance deer issue in southern New Brunswick communities, like Saint Andrews, but Mike Holland says the solution will not involve relocating wildlife.

Town of Saint Andrews again calling on New Brunswick government to trap, transfer urban deer

A resolution proposed by Saint Andrews calling on the provincial government to relocate urban deer was passed by the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick over the weekend. (Brian Chisholm, CBC)

The minister of energy and resource development promises to address the nuisance deer issue in southern New Brunswick communities, like Saint Andrews, but Mike Holland says the solution will not involve relocating wildlife.

The minister remained firm in his stance on the question of trap and transfer after municipal leaders from Saint Andrews again called on the provincial government to move its urban deer population elsewhere.

Holland said the practice is "not an effective measure" because it won't clear out the entire urban population, meaning urban deer problems will persist; it's costly; and it produces a high mortality rate.

"We certainly do need to ensure we're doing it in a humane way for the wildlife resource," Holland told Shift New Brunswick on Monday afternoon.

Mike Holland, New Brunswick's minister of energy and resource development, said the province won't move ahead with a trap and transfer program to solve the nuisance deer issue in Saint Andrews. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

He also said the urban deer now see humans as a source of food and will seek another urban centre if relocated. 

His comments come after the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick passed a resolution, proposed by the Town of Saint Andrews, saying that because the province is responsible for wildlife management it should "immediately intervene to capture, relocate and reintegrate nuisance urban deer found in non-huntable locations."

The town previously proposed a relocation program on its own, but it was rejected by the province last year.

The answer hasn't changed, but Holland said his government is committed to working with municipalities to find a solution.

The Union of Municipalities in New Brunswick has passed a resolution, asking the province to relocate nuisance deer in urban areas. Energy and resource minister Mike Holland said government is working on options for dealing with the deer, but relocating them is not an option. 10:23

"We take this very seriously," he said. "It's an issue that affects the community, and at the same time, we want to go through a series of deliberate, intentional steps that gets to the bottom of it and seeks solutions."

Saint Andrews Mayor Doug Naish said he believes there are ways to safely round up and transport the deer.

"I'm intent on having it done right, not just to put them in a truck and take them somewhere where they might die and not have no chance of survival," he said over the weekend.

He's hopeful the support from the municipalities' union will strengthen his cause, as many other southern New Brunswick communities like Rothesay, Quispamsis and Hampton also suffer from an overpopulation of deer.

Doug Naish, the mayor of Saint Andrews, says the nuisance deer hunt is limited in its effectiveness. (Gary Moore/CBC)

He said there have been many close calls with deer, but there have been no serious injuries.

"But that's just good luck, not good management," he said.

Holland said ideas the government is considering include an expansion and extension of the nuisance deer hunt as well as increasing the amount of conservation land across the province to develop more natural habitat for the animals.

Naish has been critical of the deer hunt, saying it's limited in its effectiveness because the majority of the deer are in densely populated neighbourhoods where there is no hunting.

With files Angela Bosse, Gary Moore and Shift New Brunswick

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