Letter: Little help for homeowners doing their best with deer

Homeowners are trying to protect their properties and gardens with little help from anyone else

Re: Gardeners are responsible for protecting their spaces, Your View, Oak Bay News, Sept. 7

Most residents hesitate to enter the deer management fray in Oak Bay – there are two sides to the issue, many (too many) letters have already been written, neither side seems to acknowledge the other’s point of view, and (of course) the politicians are afraid or unable to do anything about it.

But let’s at least get real: all it take is $60 to protect your vegetable garden and property from deer? Families here are spending up to $10,000 (or more) to install cedar deer-proof fencing around their backyards!

The deer have become not only numerous but aggressive (especially bucks during the rut and does when with fawns). Safety is also an issue, particularly when kids, the elderly or pets are involved.

And deer do more than just eat a few veggies or your roses. Numerous plant species are vulnerable, including many species of flowers, shrubs and trees, including fruit trees.

The bucks also deform and girdle shrubs and young trees when rubbing them with their antlers.

(Oak Bay seems to ignore this when planting saplings on the municipal boulevards and leave it up to the adjacent land owners to try to protect the new trees.)

On top of that, with Oak Bay’s existing fence height restrictions, residents are really only permitted to keep deer out of their back yards. Front yards have become write-offs.

And so much for the campaign to support and re-introduce native plant species (many of which are favourite foods of deer).

So, please, let’s stop pretending that the mushrooming deer population is having a negligible impact and can be controlled with a $60 expenditure.

Home owners are doing their best to protect their properties and gardens with little help from anyone else.

You’d think that we are still living in the Wild West where “Open Range” laws are still in effect (allowing uncontrolled livestock to graze anywhere)!

Thomas Ovanin

Oak Bay