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Davis Journal

Urban deer control plan renewed for three more years

Sep 02, 2022 10:36AM ● By Linda Petersen

Under a Centerville deer control program, the police department harvests nuisance urban deer on property where the owners have requested that it be done. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

CENTERVILLE—The Centerville City Council has renewed an urban deer control plan which has been in place since 2015 to help offset the conflict between humans and deer within city limits.

Of most concern to city and police department officials is reducing the number of deer-vehicle accidents in Centerville. A secondary issue is the nuisance urban deer are to farmers, gardeners and homeowners. Under the program, the police department harvests deer on property where the property owners have requested that it be done.

“This is the plan we’ve utilized to decrease and limit the number of urban in our city,” Centerville Police Lt. Allen Ackerson told the city council at an Aug. 2 meeting. “There has been a conflict between property owners and the deer as well as a lot of issues between moving vehicles and the urban deer.”

In the early years the program was administered by the parks department and volunteers, but in 2019 the police department took that program over. Prior to that time, although the program had some successes, the number of incidents of deer-auto crashes was high, said Ackerson as he shared some statistics.

Between 2012 and 2019, an average of 10 deer-caused car crashes a year occurred in the city. Last year there was just one incident, he said.

The number of deer harvested has also dropped. In 2019 (statistics are not available for before that date) 14 deer were harvested. That number was 13 in 2020 and just five last year.

Ackerson said there were some additional factors that caused last year’s number to be so low. “We believe fewer deer were harvested by us in 2021 due to the drought conditions. It did limit the deer in the city,” he said.

There were also fewer police officers available to help with the program, he said. “The officers who are involved in the deer control programs, last year they had a lot of training going on.”

Most of those officers are “privately avid hunters” and the time limits for the harvesting have interfered with the regular hunting season, he said. In response to that concern, last year the Division of Wildlife Resources extended the harvesting window from July to December.

The city’s plan ensures that only authorized personnel may harvest deer and strictly manages the process itself.

The Division of Wildlife Resources had previously approved the city’s certificate of registration pending passing of the deer control program. At the Aug. 2 meeting, the city council unanimously approved a three-year extension of the program, making it official. 

When the program was first introduced, “there was quite a backlash in the community and fears were expressed that it wouldn’t be effective,” Councilmember George McEwan commented. He suggested the city post on social media the statistics shared by Ackerson. λ