Logan is surveying residents on their desire for a deer management program and listening to options from other communities.
The optional, mail-in survey had resulted in 334 responses as of the Logan Municipal Council meeting Tuesday. Most respondents, 47 percent, said they don’t think anything needs to be done to reduce the number of deer in Logan, as opposed to 27 percent who do.
When asked if capturing and relocating deer is acceptable, 49 percent agreed and 32 percent disagreed. Nearly 60 percent said they are opposed to a program that euthanizes deer and sells their meat.
Regarding the 45 percent of respondents who think the city shouldn’t take any action, Logan Mayon Craig Petersen said he wants to take a look at the geographical breakdown, since some areas in the city are affected by deer more than others. Those results will be released over the next couple of weeks, along with comments from respondents.
The response rate so far is 35 percent.
“It isn’t particularly high, and that makes me a little less easy about knowing that our results are representative of citizens,” Petersen said.
To provide information to the council on how other communities have implemented deer management programs, Petersen invited Nolan Krebs, North Logan public works operations manager, to explain the North Logan deer management program.
Krebs has led the program for the past two years. Any deer management program is run by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. State employees train local public works employees on how to trap and release or euthanize deer. They are limited to euthanizing or relocating 120 deer over three years.
Krebs said he thinks the program has made a difference, but progress has been slower than he expected.
When the program first started, Krebs hauled 30 deer out of North Logan and brought equal numbers to Blacksmith Fork, Laketown and Box Elder County.
“Six of the ones in Blacksmith Fork came back, Laketown no longer wants to speak to us, and the only ones we really got away with were the ones in Box Elder,” Krebs said.
The Division of Wildlife wants future releases to be in Box Elder County. They also don’t want bucks to be taken out of the city, according to Krebs.
Krebs later captured 58 deer, released 18 and donated the meat of the remaining 40 to residents.
He said the program is for necessary for public safety. Last year, 39 deer were involved in auto collisions, many of which occurred at high speed.
“Someone is going to get hurt one of these days,” Krebs said.
He said more deer come to the city as they figure out they will get shot in the mountains, but they are safe within the city. There can be several generations of deer born in the city, and there is no way to get them out.
“The deer have become so domesticated you can almost walk right up to them,” Krebs said.
Krebs said response from the community has been split. Some people have vandalized traps and let deer loose, but he said he has received more positive feedback than negative.
“I’d like to see your program all throughout the valley,” Council Member Eugene Needham said.
The presentation on Tuesday and the survey are only meant to inform the council and the public on possible action. Petersen said there will be opportunities for public hearings in coming Logan Municipal Council meetings.
“We’re a long way from a decision point,” Petersen said.