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Manti ordinance aims to control deer in city limits

By Collin Overton

Staff Writer

7-11-2019

 

Manti is taking steps to enact a deer control program, after reports of increased property and crop damage.

MANTI—The Manti City Council set in motion a program to euthanize nuisance deer in city limits at their meeting July 3.

The initiative, recently approved by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), allows for the lethal removal of up to 100 deer a year, 25 of which can be antlered. City council members said the most cost-effective, safe method of removal would be “trap and cull,” or catching the animals in live traps, then euthanizing them. The program only allows for lethal options.

“My gut feeling would be to try trapping and culling initially,” Councilman Jason Vernon said. “I think it would be the least expensive way to go.”

Deer control had been a reoccurring topic in council meetings for the past several months, with residents reporting increased damage to property, crops and vehicles from deer on the roads. In February, the council passed a no-feeding ordinance in light of the damage, as well as reports of chronic wasting disease being found in central Utah deer.

At the meeting, council members looked over copies of Herriman’s deer removal plan, which also utilizes trap and cull and designates someone to put the animals down. City Recorder Kent Barton said Manti would look for someone with demonstrated skills to do the job, whether that means contracting or hiring someone locally.

Some cities in Utah County utilize contractors to bait and shoot deer from tree stands, which has worked well for them, Vernon said. Cities pay a flat fee for setting up the baiting stations, as well as a fee for each deer killed.

The trapping method, however, would likely prove safer, less expensive and less high-maintenance, Vernon said. The simple clover traps used would consist of a frame, net, trip wire and bait. Vernon said the city could look into purchasing about six traps, which would cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000 each.

Barton agreed with the direction of the program, and said a clean capture method would be more aesthetically pleasing.

As for how the deer will be disposed of, the council isn’t sure yet. Barton said he expects the harvested deer to be put to beneficial use.

“But still, we want to be sensitive. I think there are people in town who enjoy having deer in their yard,” Vernon said.

The council now plans to hold a public hearing where residents can comment. Barton said it will likely occur on Aug. 20 or 21. After hearing recommendations, the council will re-send the plan to DWR for final approval.

Also at the meeting, Barton said he wished to send a letter out to citizens explaining the zoning changes potentially up for consideration in August.

The changes would include designating downtown Manti as a “historic commercial” zone (which would propose some restrictions for building type and use), adding commercial zones to the north and south ends of the city, relaxing some current setback requirements in the current residential zone and adding some medium and high density residential options, which opens the door for townhouses, condominiums and other multifamily housing options.

“I support that…the best thing we can do is educate the community on what we’re trying to accomplish, and have straight facts and truthful information, not inuendo on hearsay,” Mayor Korry Soper said.

Barton also reported that the city had received a new ladder truck from the Sanpete County Fire District. Manti requested the truck, which used to belong to the Ephraim Fire Department, after they heard Ephraim was receiving a new one. The truck was allocated to Manti without any cost.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the public hearing on the deer program was scheduled for July 17. Manti City Council has since decided to reschedule and is settling on a date.