Utah City Euthanizing Nuisance Deer, Donating to Families in Need

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Certain communities across the United States fiercely advocate against hunting. However, the reality is that the sport helps prevent the overpopulation of game animals, especially when it comes to deer. In rural regions, this isn’t as pressing of an issue. Each year, millions of hunters head out to take down deer, bears, pheasants, and ducks, maintaining their populations. However, one Utah city is having a serious problem with its deer population. And authorities have decided to euthanize some of the nuisance animals, donating them to families in need.

According to KSL, deer populations in Bountiful have been causing some serious problems, damaging homeowners’ yards and gardens. Bountiful City Manager Gary Hill spoke out about the city’s growing problem.

“We’ve had reports over the years of deer being aggressive toward people,” he said. “Definitely toward animals and then many deer auto accidents. Residents asked the City Council to see what they can do.”

To remedy the issue, Bountiful teamed up with the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources. Per the outlet, earlier solutions typically included tranquilizing and relocating the animals. However, an outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a detrimental illness that infects deer populations, forced the DWR to scrap that program. Authorities also noted that relocated animals have a significantly decreased survival rate. Instead, authorities are trapping and killing the them. There have been 17 total euthanized this year so far, preceded by 45 total last year.

Of those that have been dispatched, Hill explained, “These are deer that don’t migrate necessarily down from the foothills. These are deer that are bred in town and in some of our valleys and backyards.”

That fact means these animals are less wary of humans and, therefore, more likely to cause problems or harm someone.

Bountiful, Utah’s Deer Dispatching Process:

We’ve explored why Bountiful authorities are euthanizing some of the city’s deer, but we haven’t explored what they’re doing with the game meat. Don’t worry though, we’re getting there.

According to the outlet, Bountiful residents can call the city if they’re experiencing a deer problem and, responding to the call, the city then sets up a deer trap.

Afterward, a police officer training in properly euthanizing the nuisance animal is charged with shooting it.

While there’s certainly some paperwork involved, the rest of the process seems relatively simple. Deer taken in the city’s joint effort with the DWR to eliminate nuisance animals often sees the harvested meat go to a family in need. Hill said that, reportedly, none of the game collected within the last two years has gone to waste.

“To date, the last two years of this program, I believe every deer that we’ve euthanized has been taken by a family,” the city manager said.