The city of Fort Benton will begin culling deer within the city limits on Wednesday evening to reduce the population, making the area safer.
Fort Benton Police Department was granted a permit from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to cull 50 deer in Fort Benton, due to overpopulation.
“Culling for City of Fort Benton is we are trying to lower the number of deer that are living within the city limits,” said Adam Jacques, chief of police. “We have a group of deer that never leave. They live here, this is where they give birth, and they stay. Unfortunately, the numbers keep growing. We're having some negative interactions [between] animals and people with them, so at this point, and last year, we're working on culling them to make this a little safer community and get the numbers manageable.”
Several residents in Fort Benton have complained of deer destroying their property and fences, as well as “bullying” and attacking their dogs.
Jacques said these deer have gotten too comfortable around people, which causes various problems.
Fort Benton police will not handle the actual processing of these deer. Once the deer are in their possession, they will be donated to food banks for residents to take and be processed however they would like.
Residents who are interested in receiving a deer after it has been taken out can register with the food bank.
“We have until April when our permit ends, but I'd like to get it done by January. We'll just slowly go as we need to, and then if time starts running out, we'll shoot and take them to Great Falls and let them distribute the rest of them,” Jacques said.
Deer that are not picked up in time by residents in the area will be taken to Great Falls as a part of the Hunters Against Hunger Program where they will process them, funded by the state, and then be distributed to food banks for people in need.