North Ogden officials to again debate how to deal with urban deer population

Monday , November 13, 2017 - 5:11 PM4 comments

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

NORTH OGDEN — North Ogden officials are again set to take up the issue of the city’s growing deer population, tentatively deciding if action is needed to deal with the animals.

The North Ogden City Council has discussed the matter at least twice, last August and last March, and on Tuesday the body takes it up once again. Options up for debate are whether to enlist the help of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in removing the deer and relocating them, launching a hunting program to thin their numbers or doing nothing.

Tuesday’s city council meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at city hall, 505 E. 2600 North.

“There’s just a large number of deer that are living in the city now days,” said Mayor Brent Taylor. Numerous residents have broached the issue on Taylor’s Facebook page, variously complaining about the damage deer cause and saying the city should leave them alone.

RELATED: North Ogden looking to curb urban deer population, bows and arrows an option

Previously, deer had sometimes edged into North Ogden during the winter in search of food, departing when spring rolled around. But more and more, Taylor said, the critters are remaining year-round, which has prompted complaints about the animals eating and destroying fruit and vegetable patches.

An informal poll Taylor posted on his Facebook page last July showed overwhelming support for doing nothing. Last August, council members tabled action on the issue, in part to get more information, and Taylor said the data they sought — related to the estimated cost of the varied options — has been compiled.

According to a Nov. 9 staff report from Jonathan Call, the North Ogden city attorney, tapping into a DWR program to remove and relocate deer would cost an estimated $29,120 per year, presuming 100 animals were trapped. That includes $200 paid to the DWR per animal plus $9,120 in city manpower dedicated to the task.

Call wasn’t able to come up with a solid cost estimate for removing deer lethally, but said some Utah County communities looking into the matter received quotes of more than $20,000 a year to handle the task.

If the city were to OK use of a lethal program, numerous questions would have to be addressed — where hunting would be allowed, whether archery would be the only possible means and who would be authorized to hunt, among other things. The city could hire hunters, Call said in his memo, or let members of the general public who meet certain qualifications do the hunting.

The city would have to seek permission from the DWR to launch a removal program, whether lethal or non-lethal, showing that deer are causing significant damage, among other things.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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