With the pilot deer projects complete, the Capital Regional District will consider establishing a continued service.
The CRD board will consider expanding wildlife management in its mandate with the final deer report from staff at hand.
The report included input from Oak Bay and Central Saanich, where pilot projects to manage deer populations were held. Oak Bay’s was urban while Central Saanich took a rural approach.
“Being a pilot site, we were well aware that we were doing it in isolation to the other communities, but doing it in order to see what steps are required to have a successful deer management process,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “We’ve seen it’s much more effective to have a regional approach rather than a patchwork of communities, some taking steps and others not, to deal with the problem.”
For the urban cull, the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations issued Oak Bay a permit to harvest up to 25 black-tailed deer. Modified clover traps were active on private properties – seven bucks and four does were captured and killed. The final step in the regional deer management pilot project is a population reduction count expected in the fall. An ongoing role for the CRD would be dependent on a deer management or expanded wildlife management service being established.
Currently the CRD manages four animal species but staff anticipate that demand will grow and require ongoing co-ordination, public education and advocacy if multiple municipalities opt to pursue wildlife management. Ongoing regional involvement is likely not practical or economical unless a significant number of municipalities collectively choose to address deer-human conflicts, the CRD report notes.
CRD staff recommend the issue be considered further by the Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committee. They include information from Oak Bay’s staff following the project here, as well as from Peninsula Agriculture Commission and Islands Trust regarding deer on Mayne Island.
“It’s clear that this is a cross-regional issue, that’s the reason for the recommendation that this has to be seen in a much broader context than just Oak Bay,” said Jensen. “We need to consider some kind of wildlife management strategy on the one hand to protect our farmers, on the other hand to protect the health and safety of our public.”