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LETTER: UWSS defends deer count

Accurate inventory requried to ensure success

Re: Time to reconsider a deer cull, Oak Bay News, May 3, 2017

According to the City of Cranbrook, Urban Deer Management Annual Report 2015/16, in Nov. 2010 they counted 101 deer and held their first cull in 2011.

After five years of culling the deer, in November 2015, the annual count identified 137 deer, the highest number since their counts began in 2010.

Wildlife management is complex and there are no quick fixes, as evidenced by those efforts.

Using a contraceptive vaccine to manage wildlife populations has been used with over 80 species of animals throughout the world; from elephants in South Africa, to deer on Fire Island, New York State and is currently being used to manage the wild horse population in Alberta.

We have the guidance and support of some of B.C.’s foremost wildlife biologists and the science we are applying to the research phase of the project is robust in its methodology. It will provide exacting answers to questions that will guide how we move forward with population control.

The GPS telemetry collars we will use on the deer will give us an understanding of their movement patterns and home range. This will tell us where they are most likely located so that we can find and inoculate the does efficiently and in greater numbers; thereby, reducing population levels that much more quickly. It’s believed that deer in an urban setting do not behave as those in the wild.

Knowing how many deer there are and the number of male and female deer will tell us how many does we need to inoculate to reduce population levels. And, we must have an accurate inventory in order to measure success.

We ask for your patience as we answer the questions that will ensure we succeed.

Steve Huxter

Project Manager

Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society