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Dealing with deer in Bountiful

BOUNTIFUL — A program is now in place to manage deer in the city of Bountiful.

Deer in Bountiful
A program is now in place to manage deer within the city of Bountiful.

Photo by Arlo Wing

The city and the Division of Wildlife Resources joined together to develop the program. The program includes the following:

  • A website will be developed to educate Bountiful residents about things they can do to keep deer from damaging their property. The website will also explain why people should not feed deer.
  • A list of property owners who have expressed a willingness to allow their property to be used to access deer within the city limits will also be developed.
  • A pilot program will be developed to evaluate the effectiveness of managing the deer population by selectively thinning some of the deer on public property in the city. Deer would also be thinned on private property where the property owner has given permission for deer to be thinned.

In addition to getting information from the city's website, the following Web pages provide information about mule deer and how to keep the animals from damaging your yard or garden:

Goal of the program

"The goal of the program is to effectively manage the wildlife population within the corporate limits of the city of Bountiful," says Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson. "What we are trying to do is develop a program where we tolerate a certain number of deer within the city limits, but manage that number so that they do not become a health, public safety or nuisance threat to our residents."

Johnson was quick to point out that the goal of the program is not to eliminate the deer population within the city limits.

"We have always had deer within the city limits," Johnson says, "and from time to time the deer population has been thinned. This thinning is simply an extension of an existing policy that has been utilized when the need has arisen."

Bountiful is working with the DWR to share the costs of the program. DWR biologists and city managers will evaluate the program several months after it's implemented. Additionally, the city will work with the DWR to develop educational materials the city can disseminate through its website and through the city's newsletter.

"This program attempts to balance the desires of those who enjoy the deer as part of the experience of living in Bountiful," says City Manager Tom Hardy, "and those who wish to use their property for raising gardens, flowers, shrubs and other plants in the 'City of Beautiful Homes and Gardens.'"

Giving meat to those in need

The Utah Chapter of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry is accepting donations from those who would like to help pay so meat from culled animals can be processed and prepared. This meat will be given at the Bountiful Food Pantry to those in need of food.

If you'd like to donate, contact Kelly Bingham at 801-726-2598 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Using the program in other cities?

The Division of Wildlife Resources is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife populations within Utah, including the state's deer population. The city of Bountiful wants to take advantage of the DWR's experience, professionalism and sensitivity to the urban deer population in Bountiful by working directly with the DWR on this issue.

It's possible that the DWR could take the program it's developed with Bountiful and replicate it in other cities that are facing the same issue.

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