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Some in Logan are fawning over deer abatement program, others buck at the idea

By Miranda Tilley
Nov. 20, 2016 

Logan residents are nearly evenly split on whether the city should take action to reduce the population of deer within city limits, according to the results of a new survey — and the lack of a clear majority opinion on the matter has left city leaders still struggling to decide what to do.

On Tuesday the council announced the results of the optional, mail-in survey, which was conducted by students at Utah State University. The results show 47 percent of people don’t think anything needs to be done to reduce the amount of deer within the city’s limits. Those who do want the city to take further action are divided on what steps to take.

The council agreed on Sept. 20 that the deer population in Logan had grown to a dangerously high level and something needed to be done. As a result, the survey was sent to randomly selected residents within Logan's boundaries on Sept. 26, with the purpose of better understanding residents’ feelings about urban deer.

About a quarter of the respondents wanted to start a deer management program which would relocate or euthanize the animals, but 60 percent of respondents are opposed to the program.

Logan Mayor Craig Petersen said he wasn't pleased with the low response rate, which sits at 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.

He wants to look at the geographical breakdown of the responses because some areas are more affected by the deer than others.

“It is a very controversial topic,” Petersen said. “I had a guy call me last week and he told me that he has a big buck in his backyard and he doesn’t mind at all if it eats his shrubs.” 

Petersen invited Nolan Krebs, North Logan’s public works operation manger, to speak on behalf of that city’s deer management program during the council meeting.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is in charge of deer management program in North Logan. State employees are trained by the DWR to trap and release or euthanize up to 120 deer over a three year period.

“It is making a difference but it’s a lot slower than what we thought it would be,” Krebs said. 

During the first year of the program, 30 deer were trapped and relocated to Laketown, Blacksmith Fork 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. 

Last year, North Logan euthanized 40 deer and donated the meat to residents in need.

North Logan citizens have also been split over the program. In one act of apparent protest, someone cut an expensive net trap to set a deer loose. However, Krebs said he has received more positive feedback than negative, and Logan Councilman Eugene Needham said he was a fan of the neighboring city’s management efforts.

“I’d like to see your program all through the valley,” Needham said. 

The decision on the implementation of a deer management program will be considered and multiple public hearings will be held in upcoming Logan City Council meetings.