A Nova Scotia town is days away from what it considers the first municipal deer hunt in the country.
Truro will bring in four hunters with crossbows — long guns are not allowed within town limits — to kill 20 female deer to deal with a deer population that it says has become unmanageable.
"Our bylaw enforcement officer went into one backyard and there were over 30 deer in the backyard of one of the properties," said Truro CAO Mike Dolter. "Now, this particular woman had been feeding the deer."
The town is also in the midst of an education campaign, trying to get people to stop feeding the deer. But it hasn't been working.
Fifty-three per cent of residents voted in favour of a controlled hunt in a plebiscite.
Police say they record at least 20 collisions between deer and cars in the town each year.
Rebecca Lapointe, a resident who voted in favour of the cull, said she could see up to 10 deer during a 30-minute walk with her dog, even on the coldest days.
"I don't like the thought of killing the deer, but it's been years and years and it's getting worse and worse," Lapointe said.
"And all of the young deer — they've never even lived in the woods, so I don't see an end to the problem until something drastic like that does happen."
The town has selected four sites in town where bait will be used to lure the deer.
"Once we get it down to a manageable level we might use something like a contraceptive dart," Dolter said. "I think that's what they're studying right now to maintain the level."
The carcasses won't go to waste. The meat will go to Feed Nova Scotia, the skins will go to Millbrook First Nation and Dalhousie University's Agricultural Campus wants the entrails.
Fraser Clark, a scientist at the agriculture campus, wants to determine if the wildlife population is healthy.
The permit for the hunt expires in mid-February.
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