2016 urban deer cull and research grants announced

Four B.C. municipalities in the Kootenay/Boundary have been approved for grants under a provincial program that was launched last year to support local government’s that are experiencing challenges with urban deer.

Under the Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program, government is providing up to $100,000 in cost-share funding, to a maximum of $20,000 per eligible community, for projects that focus on deer culls and research into population control methods such as relocation and immuno-contraception.

Successful grant applicants for this round of funding are Invermere, Grand Forks, Elkford and Cranbrook. A fifth application from Oak Bay is still under consideration and ministry staff are working with that municipality to refine the proposal.

Grand Forks will receive $16,000 to cull 80 deer in the community, Invermere has been approved for $10,200 to cull 51 deer and Elkford’s application for $10,000 to cull 50 deer has also been approved. Cranbrook will receive a $19,900 grant that will be used to study the feasibility of relocating problem deer that have taken up residence in urban environments. Cranbrook’s study will build upon research that Elkford started last year, which involved urban deer in Cranbrook, Elkford, Invermere and Kimberley.

Oak Bay’s proposal involves the use of immuno-contraceptive drugs designed to prevent deer from reproducing, however this is a complex undertaking that requires further research into the availability of drugs and careful planning to ensure the drugs are delivered in a humane and effective way.

The Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program follows through on a commitment made by government at the 2015 Union of B.C. Municipalities annual meeting. The program offers matching funds, and support varies for each region. Interior culls are eligible for $200 deer, while on the Coast, the rate is $300 per deer. Interior deer are less expensive to cull because winters are cold in the Interior, there is less food available and deer are more willing to come to baits.

The ministry’s call for proposals was issued Oct. 26. Grant agreements with the successful applicants are scheduled to be finalized later this month and project completion reports from the recipients are due on or before March 17, 2016.