Pesky deer a widening problem in North Ogden

Thursday , March 12, 2015 - 2:19 PM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

NORTH OGDEN — More and more deer are showing up in residential and even commercial areas and some residents and city officials are getting worried.

At a recent city council meeting, resident Jerry Shaw expressed his concerns. He owns some farming property near the new public works site where he plants gardens in the spring and summer. “On any given night there are eight or 10 head of deer on my property,” Shaw said. Unless he builds a 6- or 7-foot fence they can get in, he said. He suggested that the city get some licensed archers to come in and shoot the deer and then donate the meat to the homeless. “I know something like this has been done in other communities,” Shaw said.

The deer eat the food or any plant life in his gardens. “They are a pest, not a pet,” Shaw said. “If they are down in that public works area every night you are going to have a real problem,” he added.

Mayor Brent Taylor told the Standard-Examiner that he knows the deer are becoming more of a problem in the city, but the council hasn’t really talked about a solid solution at this point. He noted that on his way from the council meeting that night a deer ran out in the road in front of him that he almost hit on 400 East. “Believe me, I know personally it is a problem and we don’t want it to become a safety issue,” Taylor said.

Phil Douglass, wildlife conservation outreach coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, is also aware of the problem in many former rural areas that are becoming more populated.

“It is problematic with urban sprawl because we encroach on their area,” Douglass said.

The DWR has started a pilot program in Bountiful and Highland where traps are set out for the deer and once the deer are trapped they are taken and relocated to a more natural habitat. So far he thinks the program has been working well.

“Our initial feedback has been positive,” he said of the trapping program.

The program will conclude later in the summer and once the information and results are compiled the DWR may expand it to other communities.

Douglass said it is not unheard for cities to use archery to shoot the deer in city limits, but the city must have an ordinance that allows bows and arrows to be shot. “We have extended the archery licenses and applications are on our website,” Douglass said.

Taylor said he was unaware of the license extension but also said no firearms or bows and arrows are allowed to be shot by civilians in city limits. He doesn’t know if that will change, but for now it is not allowed.

Douglass said part of the reason the trapping program was started was so people could become more tolerant of the wildlife.

“We want it to be a positive thing, but we also don’t want there to be a public safety issue,” Douglass said of deer in residential and commercial areas. “Some people really like the deer,” he added. But Douglass thinks there is a way to meet in the middle. “We do have to be tolerant of things, but we do have to manage it,” he said.

Shaw would agree, but also said it can be too much, when he talked to the council.

Douglass said the DWR is holding a public information meeting and taking information from area residents in Logan on March 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cache County Council Chambers, 199 N. Main St. At the meeting, deer management issues will be discussed.

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