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Heber City Council decide against downtown deer mitigation

Baby animals, deer | Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
If you see a fawn in the wild, give it plenty of space. Its mom will have a difficult time finding it if you spook it and scare it away.

The Heber City Council has decided against moving forward with proposals to reduce the population of deer downtown.

Councilmember Scott Phillips had previously suggested the city look into a deer mitigation program to address the number of animals roaming downtown Heber and damaging property. He proposed venison from downtown deer could go to local food banks.

But Tuesday night, after a presentation of what would go into such a program, the council decided not to advance the project.

Heber City Police consulted with a Division of Wildlife Resources biologist about the idea; they learned the city would need to decide how to cull the animals and determine a target number to eliminate.

Apart from Phillips, who said the problem needed to be addressed sooner than later, councilmembers were reluctant to entertain the plan.

Yvonne Barney said deer in her backyard weren’t a nuisance and she objected to a sweeping plan.

Ryan Stack concurred, saying under no circumstances should firearm hunting be considered.

“If I supported this, I don’t think my kids would ever forgive me,” he said.

In public comment, Heber resident Linda Middleton said she didn’t support butchering deer meat, but neither did she enjoy meeting deer at close range.

“I never would have assumed there would be a need until I found a deer in my windshield,” she told the council. “So I can see the damage personally.”

As the council wrapped up its discussion with objections to Phillips’ plan, Councilmember Mike Johnston joked the population could continue to be handled by a local form of natural selection.

“I mean, we do have an urban deer control plan right now, and Linda helped out,” he said. “It’s culling by automobile.”

With most of the council against the proposal, the city will not yet pursue any formal deer mitigation measures.

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