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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Town of Pincher Creek to commence Deer Aversion Program


Town of Pincher Creek - At the November 7 Pincher Creek Town Council meeting a motion was passed to allow for a deer-control program to be implemented in the Town of Pincher Creek. The permit for this program has now been approved, and the program will be commencing Wednesday December 5.

A permit from Alberta Environment and Parks has been issued to aversively condition mule deer within the Town of Pincher Creek using scent and auditory deterrents, paintballs and a leashed and controlled canine. Mule deer will not be handled or captured during this process.

Zena

As part of the program, we would like to introduce Zena and Jedd who will be part of the team hazing deer from inside Town limits. Zena and Jedd will not access private property without permission.

Jedd

Several "hot spots" where numerous deer are often seen have been identified and will be actioned as priority areas. Residents can report deer sightings by using the deer category on the citizen request section of the Town website: www.pinchercreek.ca/request. Residents are encouraged to use the online reporting tool but can also call the office to have their request logged by our team.

Pincher Creek Deer Aversion Program

Program Objective:

The purpose of this project is to move mule deer from town limits and to recondition mule deer to no longer feel comfortable in the presence of humans.

Background

In an effort to prevent undesirable human and mule deer interactions within the town of Pincher Creek, Eagle Creek Wildlife Control has been contracted to reduce the number of mule deer currently present in the Town of Pincher Creek. Mule deer have caused untenable damage to numerous properties in the
town, have presented a traffic hazard during road crossing, have attacked and harmed pets and present a danger to humans, especially during the fawning season and particularly to the elderly and young.

This project will be undertaken by the application of a progressive re-conditioning program consisting of low-level hazing and the introduction of gentle stressing agent. The deer will not be handled or captured during this process.

Wildlife habitat directly adjacent to Pincher Creek is suitable for sustaining a healthy number of mule deer; however, as the town provides a comfortable habitat where there are few obstacles to free movement, unsuitable but edible vegetation, a lack of natural predators and even man-made provided
sustenance, a sustained effort will be required to create a deer-free environment in Pincher Creek.

Procedure:

A trained field technician in easily identifiable company uniform, accompanied by a trained dog on a secure lead will be dispatched into areas of the town where deer frequent or have been recently sighted. The technician and dog will wear high-visibility service vests. The dog's vest will be saturated with predator scent to increase its stressing potential.

The technician will approach the deer to within an uncomfortable range, causing the deer to begin to move. The technician will maintain that distance. The technician will then slowly move the deer along a safe route to a suitable location outside town limits. This process will be repeated regularly and consistently until the deer no longer find town limits to be a safe haven. The dog will be permitted to herd the deer, but not chase or otherwise harass the deer.

In addition to this gentle stressing program, and in situations where deer prove to be too difficult to stress from a safe distance, noise makers may also be employed to heighten deer anxiety. These noise makers will consist of `bear bangers', a safe-to-use pyrotechnical device that when deployed creates a loud noise designed to startle but not harm the deer.

As a further tool when needed technicians will use a paintball gun operating on a compressed CO2 cartridge and firing a small, yellow nerf ball or paintball. This tool will only be used in the most difficult of situations. The paintball gun is a clear plastic toy that cannot be mistaken for an actual firearm. The nerf ball is small and yellow and will be collected whenever possible after discharge. Should the nerf ball prove ineffective, a paintball may be used. Paintballs have a slightly greater range and a more effective impact potential, but it, too, is harmless to mule deer when fired from the paintball gun in our use and directed to the hind quarters.

Several `hot spots' in town have been identified and will be actioned as priority areas.

Reporting Deer:

Residents can report deer sightings by going to www.pinchercreek.ca/request and putting in a request under the category "deer".

We encourage residents to use the online reporting tool; however, you can also call the Town Office, and we will enter the request into the system for you. Once a request has been submitted an email will be sent to the technician.

How residents can help:

1) Eliminate deer attractants. If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, harvest produce as soon as it
is ready. This will prevent deer from seeing (or smelling) something tasty and deciding your yard is an
all-you-can-eat buffet. Please do not leave or put out hay or other feed for the deer.

2) Maintain your landscape. Don't make your yard a cozy place for visiting deer. You don't want to
tempt them into bedding down for the night or resting there in the day. Trim densely planted areas to
make them seem less appealing as hiding places. Deer prefer areas that offer quick cover in the case of
predators, so eliminating that cover will discourage deer from hanging out in your yard.

3) Let your dog spend plenty of time in the yard. Chances are if your dog spots a deer, it will bark. The
deer will run and may eventually decide your yard isn't a safe place to graze.

4) Make your property as inaccessible as possible. Please keep gates closed and fences in good repair.
The harder it is for deer to access your property, the fewer problems you will have with deer or other
problem wildlife.

Additional information on the program is available on the Town website here.

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