Oh deer: Tribes begin trapping Polson's deer population

·2 min read

Jan. 26—On Sunday, a buck and doe casually made their way across Highway 93 by the stoplight at First Interstate Bank in Polson as motorists slowed down to let the two jaywalkers pass.

However, their days of strolling city streets, alleys and yards with impunity could be coming to an end. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program has recently launched a trapping project — formally called an "urban deer reduction program" — within the Polson city limits.

According to a recent press release from CSKT's Natural Resources Department, "Conflicts between deer and humans have become a prominent wildlife management concern, especially in urban and suburban areas." The trapping program aims "to mitigate the impacts of deer conflicts and reduce complaints."

While hunting is the primary and preferred wildlife management tool for curbing population growth, "there are laws and ordinances that prohibit the discharge of firearms in city limits."

Polson City Manager Ed Meece says a trap was recently set up on the Polson Golf Course. "It was described to me as 'a big box with curtains that the deer walks into'," he said. "I'm surprised a deer would voluntarily enter one of these devices, but they aren't known for their superior intellect either."

Meat harvested from healthy deer carcasses will be donated to the Tribes' Food Sovereignty Program, Elders Program, Silvia's Store, Peoples Food Sovereignty Program, and directly to tribal members in need.

"A lot of elderly folks grew up on wild game and still depend on it," says Stephanie Gillin, information and education program manager for the department.

The Wildlife Management Program is seeking landowners in urban areas surrounding Polson who are willing to allow trapping of deer on their lands. Those who wish to participate in this project as a landowner or tribal members in need of game meat are encouraged to contact Kaylie Durglo at the Tribal Wildlife Management Program at 406-883-2888 ext. 7284 or kaylie.durglo@cskt.org.