After the recent decision to pursue a classic one-hunter designated position to shoot gophers and other pests within village limits, it was found this option was not viable and highly frowned upon.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sharon Wesgate brought council different bylaws already implemented by nearby municipalities as well as Red Deer County on alternative pest control.
During research for permit application forms for the proposed Firearms Bylaw, the CAO contacted the Town of Three Hills who advised their council has since prohibited the discharge of firearms in their municipality and permits to shoot crows are no longer issued.
“During our discussion, I inquired what methods (if any) were used by the Town of Three Hills to control gophers at their ball diamonds and campground.
It was stated they utilized ‘live’ traps and, when questioned how they were disposed of, it was indicated the gophers are ‘relocated’.
Vendors were suggested where the traps may be obtained,” said Wesgate.
After several calls and suggestions, traps were located at UFA in Red Deer and two live traps have been purchased for $38 each.
These traps will be utilized at the ball diamonds and other infested areas.
Should residents have a gopher problem, the traps could be loaned for a specified period with conditions.
Public use of strychnine is being phased out by 2022 which councillors anticipate will cause a major surge in population for the ground squirrel.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife also state that no one is allowed to shoot within 250 metres of a residence.
“I guess we will go with live traps and gopher bombs and do the best we can,” said Mayor Leah Nelson.
While drafting the bylaw, the question of liability for both the village and the permit applicant arose as well, so CAO Wesgate contacted AMSC Insurance for their opinion on this matter.
They said it was found prudent to speak with the village’s own legal council on this matter.
Council chose to seek legal advice before moving forward with the new bylaw as to do their due diligence in case something were to happen.