N.B. municipalities call on province to relocate urban deer
200 deer running around parts of Saint Andrews a safety concern, mayor says
A resolution calling on the provincial government to relocate urban deer has been passed by the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick.
The resolution, proposed by the town of Saint Andrews, says since the province is responsible for wildlife management it should "immediately intervene to capture, relocate and reintegrate nuisance urban deer found in non-huntable locations."
Municipalities with a deer problem say the nuisance deer hunt, the only control currently implemented, is limited in its effectiveness since the majority of the deer are in densely populated neighbourhoods where there is no hunting.
Deer overpopulation has long been a problem in Saint Andrews. In August, residents of the town took out a full-page newspaper ad calling on the province and the town to do something.
Saint Andrews Mayor Doug Naish said collisions between deer and vehicles, as well as close calls with pedestrians and cyclists, have become a public safety concern.
Naish said there are approximately 200 deer running in areas of the town where hunting is not permitted, and this year has brought the biggest crop of fawns he's ever seen.
"I think they've become a threat in some cases to injury, and illness in terms of Lyme disease, and other things that people are concerned about," Naish said.
The nuisance deer hunt allowed by the province over the past three years has been a big help in curbing the problem, Naish said, but only in areas on the outskirts of the town where bow hunting is allowed.
"It doesn't do anything to reduce the population of deer that are already in the most highly densely populated areas," he said.
Last year, 43 deer were killed within town limits as part of the nuisance hunt.
This year, the province has increased the number of tags nuisance deer hunters can have. Naish is waiting for next week when the hunt starts to gauge the effectiveness of the increase.
The question of how to safely relocate urban deer populations to forested areas has been a subject of debate between provincial scientists and municipal leaders for years, 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."
In 2018, the town of Saint Andrews requested a deer relocation program from the provincial government and was rejected.
Naish hopes having the support of the union of municipalities will strengthen the cause, as many other southern New Brunswick communities like Rothesay, Quispamsis and Hampton also suffer from an overpopulation of deer.
"We need the province to say, 'It's our responsibility,'" Naish said.
CBC News contacted the Department of Environment and Local Government for a comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The resolution was one of several proposed during the union's annual conference and general meeting held in Fredericton this weekend.
With files from Gary Moore