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Manti reschedules deer control hearing

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

 

MANTI—Manti City has rescheduled a public hearing on an ordinance to establish an urban deer control program.

The hearing was originally scheduled July 17 and about 10 people showed up only to find the door to the city building locked. City administrator Kent Barton emerged from the building to say the hearing and city council meeting for that night had been cancelled for lack of a quorum.

The new public hearing time is set for next Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. Barton said every household would receive a notice in its utility bill, which goes out this week.

“We’re hearing a fair amount of chatter in the community on both sides” of the deer control issue, Barton said.

The proposed program targets deer herds that are living in the city year-round as opposed to deer that come out of the mountains in the winter looking for food, Barton said.

“We’re not trying eradicate the urban deer, only to control them,” he said.

Earlier, the city council passed an ordinance banning feeding with the intent of attracting deer.

Passage of a no-feeding ordinance is required before a city can qualify for a “certificate of registration” from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to institute an urban deer control program that includes “lethal removal” of deer.

Deer that have taken up residence in the city cannot be returned to the Manti-La Sal National Forest or other deer habitats because the urban deer often have chronic wasting disease and could infect healthy populations, Barton explained.

Various methods of removal have been discussed. Some cities in Utah have hired special bow-and-arrow hunters to take out deer. Another option is trapping and euthanizing the deer.

The method of deer removal in Manti, if it adopts the ordinance, has not been determined. That’s one of the things on which the city council is seeking public input, Barton said.

“There’s no compassionate way to talk about putting down animals,” he said. At the same time, residents are complaining that deer are damaging or destroying thousands of dollars worth of landscaping and vegetable gardens. And Barton said, “We’re seeing more collisions with deer in the city.”