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Deer that were photographed standing in a local Manti yard.

Manti approves deer control plan, effective for three years

By Teri Forbes

Staff Writer

9/12/2019

 

MANTI—Manti joined 16 other Utah cities last Wednesday, Sept. 11 in adopting a deer control program.

After several discussions at council meetings, and after weighing comments from a recent public hearing, the council unanimously approved an Urban Deer Control Plan.

Councilman Jason Vernon abstained because he works for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), the state agency that oversees urban deer control.

Mayor Korry Soper opened the discussion by saying, “I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of those deals where we are not going to make everyone happy on either side, but yet I think we need to do something.”

He said DWR manages the deer population on the mountain by giving permits to hunters to harvest deer. There’s an overpopulation in the city, too, that likewise needs to be managed.

“Some information was put out into the community that we intended to euthanize, take, destroy all the deer in town,” Soper said. “That is not our intent. Again, we intend to manage the herd.”

 As part of the management plan, Soper said the city should study the herd in town on an annual basis to determine if deer are still causing property damage. “If we determine that the herd is managed and not causing significant property damage, then we don’t take any deer that year,” he said. 

Councilman Gary Chidester asked if it would be possible to add the deer control plan to the ballot as one speaker at the public hearing suggested.

Kent Barton, city administrator, said he would research the possibility, but he cautioned there would be some cost to add it to the ballot.

Councilwoman Mary Wintch said she had talked with some citizens about the prospect of putting deer control on the ballot. “They said, “That’s what we have you people on the council for, to make those kind of decisions and not turn it back to a ballot issue.’”

At that point, Chidester said he was okay proceeding with the plan.

              Barton was asked about the cost of the plan. He responded, first, that DWR would supply a limited number of traps at no cost. He said there would be labor costs to set up the trap and costs for euthanizing. He estimated that it would cost $75-$100 per animal. .

Councilman Jason Maylett said, “It does gives us a way that we have not had before to deal with a nuisance problem.”

Maylett added that he can see both sides of the issue and does like the proposed plan as a way to deal with the problem.

Councilman Darren Dyreng said he had “some legitimate concerns” and that he’d “be highly selective of setting the traps.

“I recognize there is a problem in town,” he said. “This is not even a permanent plan; it only authorizes us for three years. It is a three-year renewable plan.” 

Dyreng said he agreed with the mayor’s comments. The plan was not “eradication” but simply management.

Saying he would refrain from voting because of a conflict of interest, Councilman Vernon said “it’s not often that we have a government agency that provides authority outside its own agency for people to solve their own problems, and that’s really what the division has done—provide a tool for our citizens to solve our own problem.”

Barton reminded the council that the timeframe for the program is from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31.  And the plan will not be initiated until August 2020. Before then, he said, there would further discussion and an annual spending cap.