St. Andrews, N.B. seeks solutions for deer overpopulation
A coastal New Brunswick community is calling on the provincial government for more help in dealing with the out-of-control deer population on the peninsula.
Long-time St. Andrews, N.B. resident Bob Charlton says the number of deer near his property is higher than ever, and it’s causing problems.
“This right here is an area where the deer sleep,” says Charlton as he stands next to the half dead hedges that line part of his property. “In the past 15 years with the increasing number population of deer, they have reached everything that they can reach.”
A recent study by the University of New Brunswick found that there are 13 deer per square kilometre. To put that into perspective, the study says the ideal urban deer density rate is between three and five per square kilometre.
St. Andrews has a nuisance deer hunt within town limits, but some say the program simply isn’t enough to deal with the growing deer population, and all the problems that come with it.
“We do have an annual nuisance hunt,” says St. Andrews deputy mayor Brad Henderson. “It’s supposed to be a long-term solution for the community, but it’s not keeping up with the population increase. Unfortunately we do need to do something else.”
Henderson estimates there are about 200 deer in the St. Andrews town limits, which only has a population of around 1,500 people, according to the 2016 census.
The town has made suggestions to the province, including relocation of deer, and making changes to the nuisance program.
“The study from the UNB students does recommend a cull, followed by an annual nuisance hunt,” explains Henderson. “We would like to talk about any solutions; maybe it’s a feeding with birth control, maybe it’s a neutering program, maybe it’s the relocation. We are up for any suggestions, but doing nothing is not a solution for this community.”
A population problem without a long term solution in sight.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.