Deer survey results presented to Truro council, no decisions made yet

The results of this summer's deer survey have been presented to Truro Town Council, and it appears the issue is right back to where it started: education and attempting to stop people from feeding the animals.

Jason Fox, the town's Director of Planning, says there were 1714 total responses to the survey in July between the online and paper copies, and nearly two-third of respondents lived in town or had property in the town.

From those responses, 55 per cent said the deer population was a problem, though a majority said it was not a serious problem, with the primary concerns being collisions with vehicles, followed by tick and lyme disease.

On the survey, 118 people reported a vehicle/deer collision in the last five years.

Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil says his department went back nearly two years and saw between 10 and 12 collision per year, though he noted close calls and some collisions may not be reported.

An overwhelming number of those who filled out the survey, 92 per cent, said they've had deer on their property, and 91 per cent said the deer weren't aggressive.

Respondents were strongly opposed to lethal options such as a controlled hunt or sharpshooting, while options such as trapping, relocating the deer, using repellants, or more fencing were favoured.

Chief Administrative Officer Mike Dolter says one of the main issues with enforcing the bylaw to not feed deer is the town doesn't know someone is feeding them unless they're contacted, so the town might look at a dedicated number people could call anonymously to report that activity.

He also pointed to working with Millbrook First Nation to create a regional plan, bringing in outside expertise to help develop a population management strategy, and increasing fines for feeding deer.

The issue has been left with staff to determine options for council, which could be presented at the next meeting on October 2nd.