Oak Bay secures permit for deer cull

Clover traps to be set on private property as district begins pilot project to cull 25 urban deer

This Ministry of Forests

This Ministry of Forests

With a permit in hand, Oak Bay is prepared to embark on an urban deer cull.

Staff confirmed the district received a permit Tuesday from Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to proceed with a cull of deer through the CRD’s Regional Deer Management Strategy pilot project.

While the district won’t release any more information other than the permit is in hand, it applied to cull using a modified clover trap and bolt gun method where the animals are captured in a large netted box using bait.

“They’re not restrained in any way, shape or form, most of them lay down and continue eating,” said Dr. Helen Schwantje, the provincial veterinarian who is in part responsible for training those who use the traps.

The modified clover trap is collapsed on the animal and the contractor uses a bolt gun similar to those used in commercial slaughter.

“There are processes in place to ensure they are handled humanely, killed in a humane manner and their products prepared in a safe manner so that people are safe,” Schwantje said. “The trapping we have done in the past has been done during the dark hours so that animals are disturbed the smallest amount. The locations are chosen so they are secluded, the purpose of that is that the deer walks into the trap and they’re not bothered in any way.”

While she’s not opposed to filming the process, as some groups have asked permission to do during the proposed Oak Bay cull, it would be a difficult task. Even with the ‘urban’ quality of our deer, and their habituation to people, there’s a personal space bubble similar to what humans feel.

“Just as people have personal spaces so does an animal … Anything out of the ordinary, sudden noises, someone in that space will make that deer leave,” Schwantje said. “When a contractor arrives to euthanize the deer it’s a very quick process, in fact it’s been done in under 30 seconds. So there isn’t much to film and observe anyway.

“I personally wouldn’t have any problem with it being filmed, it’s just how to set it up without stressing the animals more.”

The traps in Oak Bay are also slated to be utilized on private property.

With the cull process underway, it likely ends other options presented by the community. Though Schwantje said there aren’t many humane and efficient ways for population reduction.

“Fertility control is really attractive to people, but it does not reduce the population immediately, and may not ever,” Schwantje said, adding that in fertility plans “they recommend going in and culling animals to start with.”

She also pointed out that SpayVac, suggested by some for use here, is not manufactured, but could be if someone came up with the money.

“It’s not that we discourage it … It’s a big commitment, it’s a long-term commitment and it’s an expensive commitment.”

The Oak Bay cull is a pilot project through the CRD Regional Deer Management Strategy, suggesting the CRD will look at the results, that may be shared with the province.

“Permits are issued with conditions depending on the type of permit, depending on the content of it,” Schwantje said. “We have required in the past, other permits, to include a summary report of what went right, what went wrong.”

The permits also require the selected contractor be appropriately trained.

“Part of the process that we’ve engaged in with deer management with municipalities is that a group of us provide training for contractors on different areas of expertise,” said Schwatje. “The principles around my training are to ensure the animals are handled humanely and ethically.”

That extends to maintaining the health of animals for human consumption.

“We are obviously aware of the interest in this issue. We want to make sure this is done right both for the animals and the people,” Schwantje said.

Council saw a power point by Schwantje, released Jan. 26 and now online at oakbay.ca, during its Monday night meeting.

“We had the most speakers we’ve ever had during the public participation period, I think there were seven,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. Six spoke on the deer issue.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney Jon Blair said he would have died if a van and car had collided at the intersection of corner of Resthaven Drive and Brethour Avenue in early December. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney senior urges motorists to slow down on Resthaven Drive

Jon Blair said community must become more pedestrian-friendly

Tarpaulin-covered tents sit next to one of the ponds in Beacon Hill Park. The location of the Meegan community care tent has still not been nailed down, as Victoria council rejected the recommendation offered by city staff. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Location of care tent for Victoria’s Beacon Hill campers still not settled

Council roundly rejects Avalon Road site, road’s edge on Cook Street appears the top alternative

Bob Joseph, author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, will be available for a Q&A through the Vancouver Island Regional Library Jan. 28. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Regional Library)
Q&A on the Indian Act with Bob Joseph open to Greater Victoria residents

Bob Joseph is the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read