Rifle deer hunt opens Oct. 21

Plenty of buck mule deer should be available during this year's general rifle buck deer hunt. Utah's most popular hunt starts Oct. 21. (Photo courtesy of Jim Shuler)

The Provo Municipal Council have voted unanimously to change the city’s urban deer reduction program, citing a focus safety and property protection.

For the past three years, the city has had a dual program of lethal and non-lethal methods of getting rid of the urban deer population. The new plan is a fully lethal program, either through professional archers or by a trap and euthanize method.

Earlier this year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources ended transporting trapped deer to new locations because of concerns of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease commonly found in deer, elk, moose and other animals. Chronic Wasting Disease is a contagious disease that causes a degeneration of the brains of the infected animal.

According to the most accurate counts in 2016, there were about 565 urban deer that resided along the higher neighborhoods of Provo, as well as along the foothills in south Provo going towards Springville.

Williams said the city, which is contracted with Humphries Archery, is focusing more on residential and business concerns.

“The emphasis on public safety is crucial,” said George Handley, city councilman.

Humphries has determined four main sites where deer seem to locate or have a movement pattern. Sites along North Canyon Road, South State Street and 900 East are the most active.

The cost to keep Humphries on contract has been a $10,000 flat fee. The new contract will be $75 per deer and $2,500 per site.

“Bow hunters would not proceed without property owner’s permission,” Williams said.

Humphries has taken 33 deer per year by archery. Williams said that number will go up with trapping and euthanasia. It will cost the city about $5,000 more a year with the new plan.

“$5,000 isn’t that much for what they’re doing,” said Gary Winterton, city councilman.

One of the advantages of the new plan includes a reduction in the requirements of city personnel to be involved.

Trapping and euthanizing reduces safety risk in densely populated areas.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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