A whitetail buck shows little fear of humans in Okanagan Falls.

Province to fund urban deer projects

Communities seek ways to neuter, chase away or kill aggressive, unhealthy deer to protect people and crops

The B.C. government has committed up to $100,000 a year to share costs of “urban deer management operations,” with an advisory committee to guide communities in reducing the risks and damage caused by deer.

The province is responsible for wildlife management, but the government wants solutions to be developed locally. Some communities have resorted to killing deer, with mixed success and sometimes intense local opposition, while others suggest birth control, relocation or “hazing” of deer using dogs to keep them away from communities.

A B.C. government fact sheet advises that if deer are to be killed, they should caught in traps that look like oversized hockey nets, then shot with a bolt gun at close range. Provincial staff can lend available equipment and issue permits to manage deer populations in or near urban areas, or develop hunting regulations for local situations.

Using dogs to chase deer is illegal under wildlife protection legislation, but a permit was issued to Kimberley to do a controlled trial in 2013. City council declared the trial a success, at a cost of $300 or more a day to deploy trained dogs and handlers.

Invermere council found itself embroiled in legal action brought by a group of opponents, despite a local survey that found more than 70 per cent public support for a deer cull. Invermere officials were dealing with complaints of aggressive deer, deer eating garbage and  appearing unhealthy, cougars encroaching on the community to prey on urban deer and deer deaths that appeared to be from unlawful action.

After multiple resolutions brought to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in recent years, the province responded this week with the offer of funding and continued research. Municipalities must obtain permits from the forests ministry before attempting relocation, hazing, contraceptive measures that require handling of deer, or culls.

The advisory committee, not yet named, is to continue developing standardized methods, such as how to safely process and distribute meat from deer that are killed. In rural Central Saanich, permits have been issued to use shotguns or bows against deer to protect crops.

Another task for the committee will be to develop public consultation on methods of deer control, to head off protests, legal challenges and vigilante action.

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read