City of Fernie to hold off on action against urban deer

City of Fernie council has decided not to go forward with a cull to deal with the community’s urban deer population.

Deer in Fernie can continue to roam the streets and backyards of the city safely. City council has decided not to go forward with a cull to deal with the community’s urban deer population.

A recent letter from a Fernie resident prompted council to discuss whether or not the city has a deer problem at a regular meeting held on October 9. The letter was addressed to mayor and council and asks what they intend to do about the deer population problem.

With several other Kootenay communities currently dealing with deer culls, and Invermere facing court action to defend their public involvement process following a cull, Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano felt it was important for the city to address their deer situation with caution.

“Even if we had a horrendous deer problem, we really need to wait and see what happens with Invermere before anything could be done,” commented Giuliano. “It sounds like this process is long and it’s difficult, and if we have the same kind of animal lovers, and I think we do, that they have in Invermere, we will be facing the same kind of court problems that they are facing.”

Bear Aware Coordinator for the Elk Valley, Kathy Murray, attended the meeting and reinforced that Fernie is limited in their options when dealing with any wildlife issues. She expressed the importance of continuing to educate residents on how to avoid encounters with deer.

“The reality is that we’ve all chosen to live here in bear country and with other wildlife,” said Murray. “There are more people and more wildlife sharing our habitat, so we’re going to have to buckle up, manage attractants, and be more tolerant of wildlife.”

Council members and Murray all agreed that should anyone encounter an aggressive or problem deer, the best course of action is to call a Conservation Officer, who can immediately deal with the situation.