Longueuil set to cull urban deer population, meat to supply local food bank

The city of Longueuil is set to trap and kill about half the deer in the urban Michel-Chartrand Park.

According to the city, there are too many deer there, and it's hurting the tree population.

“Faced with the current situation, the city must take its responsibilities and intervene to ensure [the park’s] sustainability,” said Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent in a release announcing the program.

Authorities estimate there are about 30 deer in the park, which make up a third of the deer population in the city. Most of the other deer are in Boise du Tremblay, where hunting them is allowed.

Cages will be laid out with bait in them. Once a deer is caught, it will be euthanized on site.

The meat will be donated to Moisson Rive-Sud, a local food bank.

General Manager Dany Hétu said the meat will be distributed to subsidiary kitchens in the area, which he says need extra supplies as “more people are turning to food banks” during the pandemic.

RESIDENTS, HUNTERS RESPOND

Some people think the city should move the deer instead of slaughtering them.

“They should be moved to another park,” said Jean Brouseau, manager of the Montreal Anglers and Hunters Club. “If there are too many deer, take half of them and bring them elsewhere.”

He’s not the only one with that opinion.

“I don't feel good about it,” said Longueuil resident Kelly Robillart. “I know it will be a little pricier, maybe, but I don't think that killing them is a good idea.”

URBANIZED DEER ARE VULNERABLE

Relocation of the deer is a risky job. Mortality rates for relocated deer are reportedly 85 per cent higher than non-relocated animals. This is because deer may suffer injuries during the transportation process, or have trouble adapting to their new environment.

For deer living in an urban environment, there are even more risks, according to Robert Bertrand Weladji, a biologist at Concordia University specializing in deer populations.

“They are weaker than the deer in a protected area,” he said. “You can get close to a deer in an urban park, that is not the case in a protected park.”

Because of this, according to Weladji, urbanized deer are less likely to run away from predators.

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