InfoBase

This is a compendium of information from various sources on the deer slaughter issue. Input and ideas are welcome.

Table of Contents

1 Informative links

2 Non-lethal options

This section presents some explanations from various sources to further the understanding of non-lethal methods of deer control.

2.1 Fencing

The most effective method for exclusion is a well-designed fence, and there are several designs available to meet specific needs. Temporary electrified fences are simple, inexpensive, and useful in protecting garden and field crops during snow-free periods. “Baiting” the fence with peanut butter, apples, etc. may enhance the effectiveness of electrified fences. Deer are attracted to these fences by their appearance or smell and are lured into contacting the fence with their noses. This causes an effective shock that trains deer (sometimes) to avoid the fenced area. Permanent, high-tensile, electric fences provide year-round protection from deer and are best suited to high-value specialty or orchard crops.

Permanent woven-wire fences provide the ultimate deer barrier. They require little maintenance but are very expensive to build. In fact, the cost of constructing effective fences often limits their use to areas of intensive agriculture, such as orchards or private gardens.

A new, patented Wireless Deer Fence consists of just a post less than 2 feet high, a deer-attractant reservoir, and a battery-powered high-voltage shocker. It is recommended that 3 to 6 posts be used for one-third acre, or 15 to 18 per acre (Williams and Williams, 2002). For information on price, maintenance, and installation for the Wireless Deer Fence posts, visit their website at Wireless Deer Fence.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

Fencing is the most effective way of protecting crops, plants and property from the browsing damage caused by deer (Odocoileus virginianus). There are a variety of deer fences that can be installed.

(Source: Wildlife Damage Control: Electric Fencing)
(Source: Wildlife Damage Control: Non-Electric Fencing)

2.1.1 Fencing effectiveness comments from retailers

Here is a list of BC fencing companies who provided 'verbal' testimonials for their products. Some retailers were unavailable to comment. Source: http://www.bcdex.com/my/contractor/consubfencing.html#Top

Greater Vancouver

Western Fence & Gate Ltd. 6340 148th Street Surrey, B.C. V3S 3C4 Phone: 604-434-7312 (sells only chainlink, but no idea if it keeps deer out)

Affordable Fencing 1550 Theta Court North Vancouver, B.C. V7G 2N9 Phone: 604-929-6669 (voicemail)

Coastal Fence Ltd. 2927 139th Street Surrey, B.C. V4P 2N2 Phone: 604-531-0501 (line busy)

Gorilla Fence Co. 543 East 7th Street North Vancouver, B.C. V7L 1S2 Phone: 604-980-5020 (voicemail)

Progressive Fence Installations 5956 206A Street Langley, B.C. V3A 8H2 Phone: 604-530-8255 (talked to bookkeeper so she couldn't say if it works or not)

Fraser Valley

Foremost Fencing 51614 Old Yale Road Rosedale, B.C. V0X 1X0 Phone: 604-794-3095 (Franz wasn't in.)

Gedak Fencing 31742 Townshipline Avenue Mission, B.C. V2V 4H9 Phone: 604-826-7667 (Lance 20yr installer says can jump 6' sometimes but 8' works for sure.)

Fraser Valley Steel 604-856-3391 (Frank 6' to 8' mesh: 330' 17 linewires 6" spacing. $583. class3 galvanizing. thinner gage 14 linewire. $387 standard galvanizing. Deer won't try to jump unless it is spooked. Definitely works! Also, Vancouver Island deer are smaller than many places in BC, so it should be much easier to keep them out.)

Pacific Fence-Crete Ltd. 26076 31B Avenue Aldergrove, B.C. V4W 2Z6 Phone: 604-856-5442 (doesn't sell fencing and has no idea about it)

Rite-Way Fencing Inc. 2463 Townline Road Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6L6 Phone: 604-522-0419 (sells only chainlink and didn't know much about deer)

Capital Region

Browett Building Inc. 3741 Epsom Drive Victoria, B.C. V8P 3S8 Phone: 250-477-3050 (voicemail)

Mac Fence Installers 1224A Richardson Street Victoria, B.C. V8V 3E1 Phone: 250-388-7820 (voicemail)

Central Okanagan

Tri-West Fence & Gate Ltd. 3440 Sexsmith Road Kelowna, B.C. V1V 1L6 Phone: (250) 491-4445 (Racine sell a lot and it definitely works, but no testimonials available in writing. Mesh 6' will keep them out, but higher the better.)

Columbia-Shuswap

Score Construction Limited 210 North Highway 23 Revelstoke, B.C. V0E 2S0 Phone: 250-837-4500 (salesperson not in)

Comox-Strathcona

Silverlink Fencing Ltd. 950 Cumberland Courtenay, B.C. V9N 2E4 Phone: 250-897-0315 (No testimonials available from customers.)

Cowichan Valley

ShareKare 250-715-1415 (Meridith says they sell a lot of 6' and customers are happy, but no written testimonials available.)

Buckerfields 250-748-8171 (Angela says customers (agricultural and residential) never complained. Stagger the fencing to confuse deer. Fencing effective as a deterent even if they can jump it at 6' which is what they mostly sell.)

Nanaimo Region

Kent's Fencing & Yard Services 1225 Corcan Road Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 2M8 Phone: 250-752-9884 (Kent 23 yrs installer 6' high deer, kids and dogs are his bread and butter! Definitely effective - deer are lazy and will go away.)

North Okanagan

North Okanagan Fencing 1580 Mountain View Armstrong, B.C. V0E 1B0 Phone: 250-546-8433 (Lindsay Grout, according to receptionist, says chainlink fencing works, is stronger, but more expensive than wire fencing. Helpful to have barb arms on top slanting outwards. Definitely keeps them out.)

Okanagan-Similkamine

Premier Fencing 1009 Moorpark Penticton, B.C. V2A 8X5 Phone: 250-493-4840 (Randy says 8' because deer may jump 6' if they can see to the other side. Agricultural area will generally allow 8', but residential may allow only 6' depending on area. It definitely works though.)

Powell River

Huetzelmann Vinyl Installations 6801 Cranberry Street Powell River, B.C. V8A 3Z3 Phone: 604-483-2224 (voicemail)

2.2 Covers

Another way to exclude deer from small garden areas is to use floating polyester row covers over the crops to be protected. The floating row covers need to be put on each evening and removed in the morning. This method of exclusion was reported to have worked very well by a gardener in Massachusetts (Bye, 2000).

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

The protectors can be made of polypropylene tubing, plastic tree wrap, or even woven-wire cylinders. Polypropylene tubes are commercially available and come in dif- ferent diameters for trees or seedlings. Four-or 5-foot shelters are generally needed in areas of heavy deer pressure (Pierce and Wiggers, 1997).

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

2.3 Plant Choices

Deer damage to landscape plants and flowers usually occurs when the deer’s natural browse is low, generally in the late fall through early spring. By choosing species that are undesirable to deer, you can reduce the amount of damage to these plants.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

Here is a list of plants we have heard were resistant to deer (no guarantee is given regarding the truthfulness of this information). Remember that plant resistance is also tied to the relative density of deer in your area. If deer are hungry, and there is little preferred food. They will eat what they don't like. Sort of like if you don't like spinach, but you are starving, you will eat spinach. Some unpalatable plants: Astilbe, Cransebill Geranium, Epimedium, Foxglove, Lamium, Lamb's Ears, Monkshood, Peonies, Pulmonaria, Silvery aremesia, Solomon's Seal

(Source: Wildlife Damage Control: Deer Resistant Plants)

2.4 Scare Options

Various methods are available and generally effective and economical if utilized early. It is more difficult to get deer to change once they establish a pattern.

2.4.1 Devices

Propane cannons or gas exploders set to detonate at irregular intervals are the most common scare devices, and they are sometimes available for loan from wildlife refuges or wildlife agencies. Strobe lights and sirens can also be effective; even fireworks and gunfire can be used as a temporary method. Playing a radio that goes on and off during the night will work for a short time, as will attaching a sprinkler system or lights to motion detectors.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

2.4.2 Dogs

Another scare option is the use of dogs that are kept behind an “invisible” fence by the use of a radio transmitter, an underground copper wire, and a special dog collar with receivers. Stationed inside the invisible fence, the dogs chase the deer out of the dogs’ territory. The collar, when activated by the underground wire, first gives an audible signal, and if the dogs don’t stop they receive a mild, harmless shock. The dogs must be trained to heed the signals.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

The rationale for hazing is not chasing, running and scaring deer. The purpose of hazing is to change the behaviour of deer at particular times of year. The home range of deer usually relates to the area they were born. So the idea of hazing is to use dogs to gently move deer out of areas where they come into conflict and into areas where there is less conflict. This is done at a time before the does give birth so the fawns are born outside the conflict areas. In places like Banff, Waterton and Cranbrook where there is accessible wilderness area, this is an easier approach – moving the female deer out of the urban areas and into the more wilderness areas. This approach begins to change the dynamic movements of the population who will see their home ranges as wilderness not urban and suburban areas.

(Source: Email correspondence from Liz White, Animal Alliance)

2.4.3 Pigs

Anecdotal reports suggest that fencing a few pigs in a pen surrounding the garden will keep deer out. It was reported that the deer didn’t like something about the pigs (smell, size, or sound) and avoided the garden and pig pen until the pigs were removed.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

2.5 Repellents

Repellents are best suited for high-value crops in orchards, nurseries, and gardens. High cost, limitations on use, and variable effectiveness make most repellents impractical on row crops, pasture, or other large areas. There are two kinds of repellents: contact and area. Contact repellents are applied directly to the crop plants and repel by taste. Some of these contact repellents use inedible egg solids to repel deer, while others are derived from cayenne pepper extract and cannot be applied to the edible portion of the crop because they will leave a hot taste.

(Source: Deer Control Options by Lance Gegner NCAT Agriculture Specialist)

Big Game Repellent has been found to reduce deer browsing damage to Japanese Yews about 50% in comparison to untreated bushes. Roger Conover. "Comparison of Two Repellents for Reducing Deer Damage to Japanese Yews During Winter" Wildlife Society Bulletin. 15:265-2658, 1987.

Hinder® has been found to reduce deer browsing damage to Japanese Yews almost as well as Big Game Repellent. Roger Conover. "Comparison of Two Repellents for Reducing Deer Damage to Japanese Yews During Winter" Wildlife Society Bulletin. 15:265-2658, 1987.

Human Hair is used by placing two-four handfuls of hair into a nylon bag and suspending it around the tree you wish to protect. One study found that it reduced damage 35%. Michael Conover. "Effectiveness of Repellents in Reducing Deer Damage in Nurseries." Wildlife Society Bulletin. 12:399-404, 1984.

Miller's Hot Sauce® reduced browsing damage by 15%. Michael Conover. "Effectiveness of Repellents in Reducing Deer Damage in Nurseries." Wildlife Society Bulletin. 12:399-404, 1984.

Magic Circle reduced browsing damage by 18%. Michael Conover. "Effectiveness of Repellents in Reducing Deer Damage in Nurseries." Wildlife Society Bulletin. 12:399-404, 1984.

(Source: Wildlife Damage Control: Deer Repellants)

2.6 Reproductive Control

Reproductive control: By suppressing reproduction in a population to a level below that of natural mortality, it is possible to achieve a decrease in population size. Most of the research on non-lethal control in deer has focused on females. The two basic methods of controlling female reproduction in deer are by using immunocontraceptives and by using contragestation agents.

(Source: Non-lethal Methods of Controlling Deer Population Growth Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan)

Here are various excerpts collected by Deer Friendly (While spaying can be expensive, about $1,100 per deer, local volunteers may bring costs down):

“Our community implemented a unique program to trap, neuter and release deer in 2006 with the permission of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,” said Highland Park Deputy City Manager Patrick Brennan. “That program has provided multiple benefits for years.”
Lake Forest will not cull deer; Bannockburn will

DeYoung said that surgical sterilization was the preferred method, but that a contraceptive vaccine was also an option during the discussion, DeYoung said … more background information … a six-person team .. would study deer movement and range size "Removing deer is not enough as that merely makes an opening for new deer to come in. At the same time, new fawns can easily come in… This is a first-time study of deer movements both within and out of the city limits" … Fair Oaks Ranch: Surgery seen way to control for deer

a pilot project to sterilize deer, spending more than $159,000 to outfit an ambulance as a moving veterinary clinic and hiring teams to tranquilize, neuter and release 19 deer.
Deer-kill foes press the issue in Homer Glen

The $50,000 spaying pilot has made for some strange bedfellows. Feinberg is an animal welfare advocate who has carried out a tireless campaign against what she sees as a state bureaucracy that is too quick to use hunting as an answer to deer problems. The professional she hired is Tony DeNicola, a biologist with a doctorate and a national reputation as a deer sharpshooter. The money is from the estate of Gerda Deterer, an animal rehabilitation expert who died in 2009. And the DNR — Feinberg's frequent adversary — approved the effort.
Officials Work To Spay Deer To Reduce Their Population « CBS Baltimore

2.7 Relocation

A common objection to relocation is that many deer perish as a result, since deer are flight animals and easily stressed by any constraint. A 2008 study in Texas where there had been significant experience with Trap, Transport, and Transplant concludes "reasonable survival rates can be achieved." (see research below).

(Source: Deer Friendly)

3 Hunting: Not a Solution, Just a Slaughter

3.1 Problems with hunting

Why consider alternatives to lethal control: Cities in the U.S. relying on urban deer culls are about equally divided between using sharpshooters and bow hunters. The Humane Societies of the United States and of Canada recommend against bow hunting to cull urban deer for reasons apparent in the picture at right. Based on national statistics, 50 percent of deer hit by an arrow are not recovered. Costs average about $500 per deer, but vary widely. Although many hunters will not participate in an urban cull, considering it an extermination rather than a hunt, cities often find hunters willing to pay a license fee to participate.

After a cull, however, the remaining deer produce more offspring in response to the increased availability of food and other deer migrate into the area. (See collection of research support)

For example, after 10 years of an annual urban cull, the environmental manager for Wilton, Connecticut, concludes "If we harvest 300 a year it could take us maybe seven [more] years…. But of course that does not include baby deer." The city of Little Canada, Minnesota did a deer survey in 2010 finding 110 deer in the town. They culled 52 animals. The next year, in 2011, the survey showed 109 animals, basically no change in the herd size. A long run advantage of birth control or spaying is that the remaining deer, particularly the does, defend their territory against in migration of new deer. Most cost analysis ignore these effects. (Source: Deer Friendly)

3.2 Objections to hunting

Regulated hunting is the most widely used method of white-tailed deer control. While it is effective in some places, it can have the opposite effect in other places. Some of the limitations of hunting are:

  • Hunting is often not feasible or safe in suburban areas, due to high human densities. It is also often not socially acceptable.
  • Intermediate to low levels of hunting may result in improved overall deer health and reproductive output, because hunting often reduces competition for the surviving deer, which then have access to more food, resulting in more fawns.
  • Deer learn to avoid areas during hunting season and take refuge in areas where hunting is restricted
  • Deer can stay bedded during the day and feed after dark, thus avoiding hunting periods – hunting is prohibited after daylight hours.

(Source: Non-lethal Methods of Controlling Deer Population Growth Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan)

3.3 The Myth of Population Reduction through Culling

Compensatory Rebound Effect (CRE)

Less deer, after hunting, plus the same abundant food source, equals better overall health, increasing fertility of female deer and causing them to conceive earlier and give birth to twins and triplets. The population rebounds right back up to the original number and eventually higher , m uch like the position Solon now finds itself in.

Hunting to control populations is a manufactured myth, used to justify hunting. Deer can out-reproduce any extermination plan.

Examples of CRE

Since 1974 managers of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey, have been holding a "management hunt" to control the refuges white-tailed deer population. Total harvests have risen consistently since 1974 and the 1995 harvest was almost exactly TWICE the 1974 harvest. (US Fish and Wildlife Service, unpublished data)

The biological reality is that left alone animal species regulate themselves. A deer population will naturally reach homeostasis, a condition in which food supply and weather conditions and nature keep the herd at the same stable population level, or within stable parameters or flucuation. If the environment cannot support x number of deer a doe will reabsorb an embryo or give birth to a buck.

Testimonies from Experts

Despite the countless deer kills that have taken place in parks and neighborhoods the cry still goes up: "There are too many deer! We've got to do something about the deer!"

Yet government wildlife managers have understood for a century or more that killing a significant portion of a deer population helps ensure more deer will be present for hunting in the near future. Rather than solve problems, deer kills have become a big problem.

Dr. Allen Rutberg, head of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and renowned expert on nonlethal means of deer population management, states that:

"The exponential rise in white-tailed deer populations in the United States during the last two decades makes a strong case that sport hunting has not controlled deer hunting. Ron Baker, The American Hunting Myth, Vantage Press NY

"As we have seen, wildlife biologists have been nurtured on the hunting philosophy and have been taught that ecosystems can be improved by manipulation." "Hunting, whether in the presence or absence of large predators is no guaranteed annual 'check' on deer populations." Elimination of predators does not account for large deer populations. Urban sprawl and deer management for hunting do. Thomas Eveland, Ph.D

"We often think predators control prey, but that is rarely the case. Prey controls predators; predators diminish as prey declines. It is not the case that removing wolves, cougars, and other predators causes deer to increase."

"A quick surge in a deer population can occur if hunting is implemented where it hasn't been before. In any event if hunting is started, it will have to continue."

"Archery has never been a valid control measure for animal populations. It's a recreational offshoot of gun hunting, and as such they can't really sell it as a control measure…so what's often done - and this is done WRONGLY…is that people will come in and they will often use what I call the 'D' words. Devastation - Destruction - Disaster…to talk about these particular animals. And what they do is they steer the public into thinking these animals need to be killed. And many times these people will say, We understand archery is not going to control the deer herd, but gosh, we gotta do something, these things are big rascals we gotta kill some of 'em, just stick a few of 'em, anything."

Gary Alt, former Chief Deer Biologist in PA said,

"Deer management has been the biggest mistake in the history of wildlife management." He refers to it as MALPRACTICE.

Bow hunting as a deer management tool :

In Texas, which has more deer than any other state, Parks and Wildlife Biologist, Horace Gore comments: "You cannot call bow hunting a population control measure. It is a recreational pursuit. In fact, he adds: "We do not advocate bow hunting when the objective is controlling the population."

Larry Gillette, wildlife biologist for Hennepin Parks, acknowledges that bow hunters fail to retrieve a substantial number of deer they shoot and does not advise the use of archery hunting to control deer.

A report in Rock Cut State Park in Illinois, department of conservation biologist, Tom Beiset states: "This report recognizes that bow hunting has never been an effective tool for population control."

The mayor of Egan, Tom Eagan, was quoted as saying, "I have always supported bow hunting but I no longer feel the rationale that it's an efficient management tool or outweighs the safety and cruelty aspects. I think if we set loose every bowhunter in Eagan we still wouldn't reduce the deer population and the city would be less safe. It isn't feasible for every bowhunter to shoot and retrieve five deer. They might each shoot and wound five deer but not shoot and retrieve five."

(Source: SolonDeer)

3.4 Why does the hunting farce continue?

There are two sources fueling it. First, hunters like to kill: it's their 'sport' and they enjoy it. Second, some politicians like to appear to do some sort of 'good' for their community: if you can appear to be committed to a 'motherhood and apple pie' cause like protecting the population from Bambi, go for it!

Therefore, a scapedeer is created via excuses such as deer-auto collisions, aggressive deer, flower eating deer, excreting deer. The population is immediately reduced. The hunter is satisfied and the politician looks good while the carcasses are cleared away. But the deer return and the ritual keeps being repeated over and over again.

Who foots the bill? You the taxpayer.

4 Objections

These are dealt with on the DeerFAQ page.

5 Victoria DeerSlaughter

This could be a summary of key items presented as a single web page document in FAQ style. Factsheets and brochures could be made from it.

5.1 How did we get to this stage?

5.2 How have the CRD conducted themselves?

5.3 Why are non-lethal methods not on the menu?

5.4 What can I do to stop the deer slaughter?

6 Media

6.1 Court injunction halts Invermere deer cull

Posted: Feb 13, 2012 2:43 PM PT

A temporary court injunction against the District of Invermere has stopped a scheduled deer cull.

The district planned to kill up to 100 urban deer, beginning this past weekend, but on Friday the Invermere Deer Protection

Organization got a interm court injunction to stop the cull.

"We didn't feel that the public was adequately consulted before they reached the decision to kill the deer," said spokesperson Devon Kazakoff.

"We believe that there's other humane methods to deal with problems in the area. The public wasn't given the proper opportunity to have their voices be heard."

Invermere mayor Gerry Taft says most people in the community support the cull and says a small, persistent, group is making the process more difficult than it needs to be.

"We are also disappointed that a small group of people in the community will cost Invermere legal fees to explore this and potentially fight this. They have been unsuccessful in winning a lot of public support or in changing the minds of council, so they have now gone the legal route," said Taft.

Taft said the district's lawyers have until Feb. 24 to if it will challenge the interim injunction.

Deer have become a nuisance in the East Kootenay, attacking pets and even people, but opposition is growing to the region's plan to cull up to 225 urban deer by the end of 2012.

Invermere is the third Kootenay community to begin killing urban deer. Cranbrook began culling deer in the fall; Kimberley conducted its cull in January. cbc link

6.2 Cranbrook deer cull criticized

by The Canadian Press - Story: 79010 Aug 11, 2012 / 6:00 pm

Oh deer!

Several signs have been placed throughout the City of Cranbrook, that may at first appear a little out of the ordinary.

"Aggressive deer in area. Please use caution," the advisory warns in bold capital letters.

Mule deer have been blamed for significant property damage and for attacks on pets. Many of the problem areas are greenspaces near schools which adds to concern that children could be attacked.

But the signs are also a symbol of the divide between those worried about safety and gardens and those who say a city cull not only isn't working, it's killing the wrong deer.

Last November, Cranbrook culled 25 deer, 11 of them whitetail and 14 mule. It was the first of three Kootenay communities, along with Kimberley and Invermere, to carry out a cull with a license from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

"The general feeling from the public was it was a real issue, public safety was sort of number one as well as yard and garden damage. People were having their gardens destroyed," explained Chris Zettel, corporate communications officer for the City of Cranbrook.

But the move has not been without criticism and animal welfare is always an emotional issue, he said.

"With deer we kind of commonly refer to it around here as the Bambi syndrome. People have this sort of Disney view," said Zettel.

"If you're that type of person and you're walking down the street with our dog and a doe comes out of the bushes and stomps your dog or kills your dog you might change your mind quite quickly."

The initial pilot project didn't go as smoothly as hoped. The mule deer were considered the problem but the traps had snagged almost as many whitetail deer, wrote Dave Dunbar, head of Fish and Wildlife Section in the Kootenay-Boundary Region, for Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

"I'm somewhat disappointed at the number of whitetail deer the contractor is killing; clearly whitetail deer are not the priority in Cranbrook," Dunbar wrote in an email to the city obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Earth Animal Rescue Society.

"I am disappointed to see the primary goals of the Cranbrook Urban Deer Committee stray so far from the target. We may find that the concern for "Human Safety" might not be improved."

Wildlife biologist Irene Teske also expressed her concerns in a Dec., 2011 email.

"The only reason we included whitetailed deer in the permit from the Minister was in case a few were caught incidentally. I suggest that any other whitetailed deer captured in the traps be released if it is safe to do so."

Zettel acknowledged that in the last year the city has been on a learning curve.

"That's something between the city and the province we're sort of grappling with to try and figure out if we can alleviate that if we move forward again in 2012."

Cranbrook City Council has approved another cull to remove up to 50 mule deer which was supposed to begin this fall.

But a legal challenge of a similar cull in Invermere is now before the B.C. Supreme Court and that may prompt Cranbrook to put its cull on hold.

"I think there's an appetite here perhaps to maybe stand back and wait and see what happens with the court case involving Invermere," said Zettel.

"If this report comes back and says the process is good and they can continue fine. But if it's a flawed process and we need to change things, if we have to wait a year or two then that's what we would have to do, but again that's up to council to make that decision," he said.

The founder and chairman of Humane Treatment of Urban Wildlife agrees that the high number of deer in Cranbrook is a problem but said a cull is not the answer.

"The deer count numbers from March 2012, which show an increase, demonstrate why the 2011 cull did not work so I don't understand why we're still stuck pursuing this," said Colleen Bailey.

Bailey, who is a member of the Cranbrook Urban Deer Committee, said other options could have included relocation, higher fences to protect gardens and yards and finding ways of keeping the deer outside the city.

"The deer are going to be constantly drawn in to where there is safe haven and shelter. All the cull is doing is creating a perpetual cycle of killing."

The contractor captures the deer in clover traps, a netted cage which collapses on top of the animal. He then uses a bolt gun which is placed to the head to kill the deer.

Bailey said that is anything but humane.

"Two contractors jump on them and hit the deer in the head with the bolt gun - one gun usually doesn't do it and the deer still isn't technically dead," she said.

"Their brain has stopped but their hearts continue to pump so the contractors have to take the deer, throw it in the back of the truck and slit its throat to bleed it out. People are horrified by that when they hear about that." castanet link