Provo city considering urban deer hunt program

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Provo city is considering a deer hunt (Stock photo)

Provo city is considering an urban deer hunt program because of problems with deer within city limits. (Stock photo)

Deer in Provo are causing trouble — they’re eating gardens, getting impaled on fences and getting hit by cars. So now the city is moving ahead to start an urban deer hunt program to reduce the problem.

Between Jan. 1, 2013 and April 24, 2014, Provo police had 94 calls about deer carcasses, 53 calls about deer problems, 77 calls about live deer and one call about a deer traffic accident. Last month the council heard from the public about the problems residents are facing, mostly on the east side.

“I live on the east side,” said Councilwoman Kim Santiago. “When we had public comment I could relate to almost every comment that was made” — deer eating flowers and trees, getting impaled on a fence, hitting a deer with a car. “There are deer dying on our streets. I personally am supportive of this effort because there are ways to harvest the deer that we could actually use the meat. … It seems like a safer alternative to what we’re doing now.”

[pullquote]”There are deer dying on our streets. I personally am supportive of this effort because there are ways to harvest the deer that we could actually use the meat. … It seems like a safer alternative to what we’re doing now.” —Kim Santiago, councilwoman[/pullquote]

The first step toward a deer hunt in the city was when the council passed a law prohibiting people from feeding deer and other wild animals in the city limits — a requirement of the state, said council attorney Brian Jones. The second step came on Tuesday when the council approved, unanimously, to authorize the mayor to seek a certificate of registration from the state Division of Wildlife Resources stating that the city meets requirements for an urban hunt plan, and to start working on a draft plan to submit to the state. The draft will include information about what the hunt would cost the city and it will be discussed in more public meetings.

Any urban hunt program has to follow DWR’s guidelines, including that antlers have to be given to DWR and not taken by the hunter or city.

This map from Jan. 1, 2013 to April 24, 2014 charts the number of deer calls. To view a larger version of the map, click here. (Image courtesy Provo city)

This map from Jan. 1, 2013 to April 24, 2014 charts the number of deer calls. To view a larger version of the map, click here. (Image courtesy Provo city)

Highland is the only city in Utah County with an urban deer hunt program now. It does a limited bow hunt, and in two years 116 deer were killed, according to Provo officials. There were no stray arrows and the meat wasn’t wasted. Bountiful does a relocation program for deer, trapping them and taking them elsewhere — that hasn’t proven as successful, said Provo Mayor John Curtis.

In Highland, there’s a volunteer with deer and bow-hunting expertise who has organized the hunts, gone out to make sure rules were being followed and hunted for any lost arrows, Curtis said. He’d like to have Highland’s volunteer act as a consultant for Provo.

If everything is approved, Curtis would like it to be implemented as soon as possible but that may not be until fall 2016. “I think it’s important and a good thing to do,” he said.

But Curtis wants everyone to understand that once the hunt program starts there won’t be a point at which the city has solved the problem and can stop.

“It reminds me of carp removal in Utah Lake,” he said. “We start this and commit to it until you want the deer back in.”

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

One Comment

  1. Jonathan Baker Reply

    Provo, in Utah county is having a deer population population: there are too many deer in the urban population that it is also causing an issue with the people population in the area. They are one of the high causes of accidents and traffic in this county, and so, the there is a call to the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), to propose a method on how to control the population. Aside from that, citizens are highly discouraged from further adding more deer to the population, such as feeding these animals found within the city. Currently, only Highland in Utah has a deer limitation program, but, it can be used as an example for Provo and other counties that have been raising claims of an overpopulation of deer within their city limits.

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