Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Deer Cull to Begin in January 2014 in Elkford, BC

Deer harvest in Elkford

posted Dec 30, 2013 at 3:00 PM— updated Dec 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The District of Elkford has a licence to cull 50 mule deer. The cull is to take place in January. - Tamara Hynd
The District of Elkford has a licence to cull 50 mule deer. The cull is to take place in January.
— image credit: Tamara Hynd

The District of Elkford will be harvesting up to 50 deer this January under a provincial licence to euthanize deer in town limits. The licence to kill 50 mule deer was issued in October.  Three separate deer counts showed there are 78 to 140 deer in Elkford. The last count in September showed deer numbers in Elkford town limits had lowered so the District is expecting to harvest 30 animals. The meat will be prepared for local food banks.

B.C. regulations dictate that no dogs (as is allowed in Alberta), no guns and no archery are allowed with the cull. A clover trap will be used to trap the deer and a captive bolt gun will euthanize each animal. The cull is expected to commence in January 2014 once the contractor is secured.

The deer harvest is motivated by public safety. Reports of aggressive deer attacking people and injuring dogs are the first concern. As the herd becomes unnaturally large there is a greater chance of a tick borne disease. The Committee held a public open house on November 26 to explain the planned deer harvest in January but only six to eight residents attended.

“The deer seem to have an issue with people with attachments,” said Bernie Van Tighem, District staff representative on the Urban Wildlife Management Council Advisory Committee. “Deer have gone after people with strollers and dogs on leashes.”

One deer went into a back yard killing a nine-month old puppy and there have been instances where vehicles have been driven between a human and a deer for safety's sake.

Elkford Council approved the recommendation from the Urban Wildlife Management Advisory Committee to create a new bylaw to deal with broad wildlife issues at the Nov. 25 regular council meeting. This bylaw will replace the existing Deer Feeding Prohibition Bylaw No. 676, 2006.

The current bylaw fines individuals $100 for feeding wildlife.

The new bylaw is intended to include all wildlife and match provincial fines. Residents could see a new bylaw in early 2014 that will continue to fine unintentional wildlife feeders $100 for putting their garbage out too early. New changes could involve individuals intentionally feeding wildlife, such as placing salt licks, or repeatedly leaving garbage out in a non animal proof container, resulting in a $300 fine.

“It appears we have an indigenous deer herd with two or three generations that have never left the townsite,” said Van Teigm. “It’s an unnatural herd. I think they live here because they are successful. We have created a predacious-free zone so they stay.”

There have been many reports of deer eating garbage and people habitually feeding the deer too.

In 2012, 433 Elkford residents participated in an online survey about the deer population in the townsite. Deer aggression towards humans, pets, threat of vehicle collision, damage to plants and trees and over population of the herd were the top concerns. Over 55 per cent of those surveyed had been threatened or a member of their immediate family had been threatened by a deer in town limits. Of those cases, 78 per cent reported it was by a doe in summer or spring.

Residents have used fencing, netting and screening, repellant and scaring as deterrents for deer. 24 per cent also said they knew of someone who fed deer.

In dealing with the population, capture and relocation was the top option, followed by controlled public hunting and education. Only seven per cent selected the capture and euthanize option.

Sixty per cent of the people surveyed had lived in Elkford for more than 20 years.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Deer culls loom in B.C. as politicians target urban bucks and does

B.C. deer cull looming
A buck mule deer sniffing the air at Nash Wash Wildlife Management Area, Utah, Dec. 6, 2008. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Brent Stettler)

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:18AM EST
VICTORIA -- The mayor of Oak Bay, British Columbia, gets dead deer alerts.
Nils Jensen barely has time to sit for a coffee when his phone pings and signals another tragic deer fatality in the suburban Victoria community known as the Tweed Curtain for its primarily elderly and refined population.
"I get regular updates," Jensen said, as he gestured to his cell phone. "There it is, the deer count, 38 so far."
A deer squeezes through a fence in a handout photo in Oak Bay, B.C., released on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (District of Oak Bay)
That number of dead deer in Oak Bay in 2013 is a huge increase, Jensen said, considering there were zero reported deer deaths in 2008. But the number has been rising steadily over the years.
Oak Bay and several other British Columbia communities, including Invermere in southeastern B.C., plan to target growing urban deer populations in 2014 to prevent potentially hazardous human-deer interactions.
"Doing nothing is not an option because we can see the rising number of deer-human conflicts," Jensen said.
He said Oak Bay's deer management strategy includes public education, bylaw enforcement, including prohibitions on feeding deer, and more signs warning drivers to beware of deer on the streets but that residents can expect the launch of a deer cull sometime next year.
Gerry Taft, the mayor of Invermere, said his community is aiming to apply for a provincial government permit next year to launch its second deer cull because they attack dogs and are no longer way of people.
"The sheer number of deer is a concern for people," Taft said. "On garbage day, when we have curbside pickup, we have groups of deer walking down the street knocking over garbage cans and eating the garbage."
Jensen said he can recite numerous brutal and dangerous incidents involving deer in Oak Bay.
Police are regularly dispatched to shoot wounded deer after they've been hit by cars, and in one instance, officers were forced to put a deer out of its misery when the animal impaled itself trying to leap a fence.
"Some of them have died an excruciating death," Jensen said. "One of them had to be put down by an officer after essentially being completely cut open as it tried to vault a fence, unsuccessfully. This isn't an easy issue for anybody. It's complex. It's emotional."
Jensen said a grandfather reported a deer leaping over his grandson's head as the two sat in their backyard. The female deer was apparently fleeing the unwanted advances of a young buck.
There are videos of bucks locking horns downtown during mating season and reports of frolicking, love-struck deer running head-on into cars.
"They don't know about traffic safety," Jensen said. "They run into the street and strike the car or cyclist."
Jensen said his recently scheduled deer-cull meeting with representatives of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals was delayed for several hours because a driver hit a deer in Oak Bay.
"That sucked. It was awful," said Lesley Fox, of the animal rights organization. "She was probably about eight months, not quite a year old."
Fox, who stopped to tend to the fatally wounded animal, said the fawn suffered at the side of the road for 90 minutes until Oak Bay police officers arrived to relieve its suffering.
Last spring, British Columbia's Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Ministry published an urban deer management fact sheet that said urban deer have become a safety concern due to growing conflicts between people and pets, increases in deer-automobile collisions and the tendency of deer to attract predators, including cougars.
The ministry said it will issue permits to communities opting for culls to reduce deer populations.
"Wildlife experts advise that capturing deer in collapsible clover traps and euthanizing them with a bolt gun is the safest, most efficient and most humane method of deer control in urban areas," the government fact sheet said. "Clover traps, which resemble oversized hockey nets, are placed in quiet locations to reduce stress on deer."
Trained contractors must conduct the culls and the deer meat must be processed by a qualified butcher, and "communities must make full use of healthy deer carcasses resulting from these culls, for example by donating the meat to First Nations, local food banks or other charitable groups."
Taft said Invermere's first deer cull in December 2011, when 19 deer were killed, revealed the extent of the emotions at stake when a community initiates such action.
Opponents to the deer cull cut the nets that held the deer, followed the cull contractors, slashed their tires and appeared to place deer repellent near the clover net traps, he said.
"There were definitely times where the contractor came to a net which had been triggered and there were no deer inside because the net had been cut."
But Invermere, like Oak Bay, is proceeding with the intention to conduct a deer cull next year, Taft said.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society tried unsuccessfully to sue the community for moving to a cull without properly consulting residents or considering deer mitigation options. The society has said it will appeal the ruling even though an official community opinion poll suggested that most residents favoured a deer cull.
"We're trying not to be held hostage by this small group of people who are playing these legal games," Taft said.
He said deer culls are expensive, but communities that feel they're part of an ungulate invasion want their numbers controlled. Taft said his community wants financial support from the province, but so far all that appears to be coming from the B.C. government are guidelines and permits.
"The cute thing that some of the deer lovers like is we have some raised crosswalks in different parts of town and the deer seem to love crossing the road on the raised crosswalks," he said.
But Victoria resident Dave Shishkoff, who represents the U.S. animal advocacy rights organization Friends of Animals, said B.C. communities such as Oak Bay and Invermere should fully explore non-lethal opportunities to deer culls.
He said enforcing local no-feeding bylaws, adding more deer warning signs on streets and roads, and fencing off Oak Bay golf areas would reduce deer populations rather than culls.
"Feeding deer is what keeps them in the area," Shishkoff said. "It's a huge problem. People are baiting deer, essentially, and keeping them in the neighbourhoods."
Changing human behaviour towards urban deer is required to control the conflict problems, he said.
"We need to be concerned for the deer and their safety, as well as our own. It's a lot harder to manage wildlife than it is to manage people, so if we manage ourselves it becomes much less of an issue."
Shishkoff said he's preparing a brochure that outlines how to use non-lethal methods to control urban deer and will distribute it throughout the community.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lack of Transparency or Public Engagement by Yet Another BC "Deer Committee."


To the Elkford Wildlife Committee

Posted: December 23, 2013 Letter to the Editor

I am sad to see the deer cull in the District of Elkford this January 6. I am writing this to say I am extremely disappointed in the way it has come about, as I was a member of the Wildlife Committee this year.

When I joined the committee the deer cull was already planned and approved by the district office and council. The existence of the committee is a mere window dressing. It purported to provide community involvement but this was not true.

I am left with the belief and am extremely disappointed that the committee was one-sided, created to support decisions that were already made. The committee, district council and offices were not open to other viewpoints, ignored other viewpoints and limited public response. I believe that once my opinion was established as being opposite to what the committee was created to prove, my opinions were unwelcome.

For example, I voiced an unwanted opinion about the deer count declining over the past three years from 120 to 70 and the option of doing a hazing in the spring, after the deer had fawned. (This was successfully done in Kimberley.) After that I was not notified of meeting dates or the so called public meeting about the cull and had a hard time getting copies of the minutes which were not complete or at all informative of what actually transpired at the meeting.

The above explains the reasons for my resignation from the committee.

Some good may come for the not-yet-shot wildlife in our community. There is a bylaw that may protect some of the remaining wildlife in the district. I ask you to support this bylaw and put pressure on those expected to see it is enforced – not treated with the disrespect of the democratic procedure that has allowed killing 40 out of the remaining 70 animals in the district.

There are some familiar faces I will mourn when I no longer see them in my neighbourhood on my daily walk with my dog.

Robert MacKenzie, Elkford, Wild At Heart, Wilderness Capital of B.C. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

New deer survey underway

News staff

The Earthanimal Humane
Education and Rescue Society
(EARS) is conducting a survey to get
a better understanding of people’s
opinions on the deer situation in the
Capital Regional District.

EARS spokeswoman Susan
Vickery said there is no data
on how residents feel about the
deer population and their level of
knowledge on management options,
including non-lethal tools.

In November, Oak Bay council
voted in favour of trapping and
killing 25 deer to thin the herd.

We also need a baseline so we
can measure people’s opinion again
if and when a management plan is
enacted,” Vickery said. “How would
you know if people are feeling better
or are seeing less damage if a cull
does happen?”

Vickery is using a Victoria-based
research company to conduct a
telephone poll with CRD residents
and a mail survey targeting Oak Bay
residents in December.

She plans to share the results
publicly in early 2014. “I have been
working on it for a couple of months
and I’m trying to approach it from
an unbiased way which is really
hard to do when you have a vested
interest,” Vickery said.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Referendum should be held on deer cull

posted Dec 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM

The deer cull issue will not go away despite attempts by the CRD to brush it under the carpet. 
Mayor Nils Jensen seems to be open to taking another look at council’s decision to proceed with the random killing of 25 deer. This letter is to encourage Jensen to provide informed leadership by listening to qualified biologists, the SPCA and the public.

Firstly, I have not seen any supporting arguments for a random killing of 25 deer from an unknown population brought forward by any qualified naturalist. In fact, I have read several reports stating that given the transient nature of Oak Bay’s deer population, deer from other jurisdictions (Saanich, Victoria) will come into our neighbourhoods to fill the void.

Further, a “cull” suggests targeting a subset of the overall population (does, bucks, fawns, sick or injured). The current proposal is to kill 25 at random. It doesn’t make sense to me, unless the overall objective is to kill the entire population.

The SPCA has gone on public record that clover trap/bolt gun with throat slitting follow-up is not humane at all.

If the number of deer is to be reduced, I would like to hear what humane options are available to do so.

Finally, the public needs to support whatever informed decision our representatives may make. Perhaps a referendum on the issue during the 2014 municipal election would allow us all to have a say.

Glenn Driscoll
Oak Bay

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Letter to the CRD from PETA

  December 4, 2013

To: Alistair Bryson, Chair, Capital Regional District Board of Directors
Capital Regional District Board of Directors
From: Jodi Minion, Wildlife Biologist/Issues Manager, PETA

Re: Deer management program

Your urgent attention is requested.
PETA is an international animal protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands residing in British Columbia. We understand that the Capital Regional District is sanctioning the clover trapping and killing of deer in local municipalities in the apparent hopes of controlling the deer population. With utmost respect we must advise that this is a cruel and ineffective form of wildlife control. Every minute spent trapped is a terrifying eternity for these easily frightened prey animals, who can badly injure themselves in frantic attempts to get free. Video of a panicked deer caught in a clover trap can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XezJJNzg3nY. Lethal initiatives also tear families apart, leaving young/weak animals vulnerable to starvation and dehydration.
Please know that lethal methods fail to control unwanted animal populations, and actually backfire. This is because a spike in the food supply results, prompting accelerated breeding among survivors and newcomers. Populations actually increase. Effective deer management plans are adaptive and integrated, the keys being strictly-enforced wildlife feeding prohibitions and habitat modification (e.g., exclusion and deterrents) in residential/landscaped areas, along forest edges, and in restoration and riparian corridors (see attached document). We are happy to advise in greater detail.
May we hear back from you soon that the cruel trapping initiative will be cancelled? Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Jodi Minion
Wildlife Biologist/Issues Manager

Deer Cull Debate Heats Up

(By the Broadcast Center News Team)
Friday, December 13, 2013

The question again being raised in the East Kootenay, do we need more deer culls?

Kimberley and Invermere City Councils believe so, and both have approved them for the near future. The fact that there are usually several culls a year points to the proof that they really don't work, says Invermere Deer Protection Society President Devin Kazakoff.

"It just creates a vacuum effect. If you take out 30 or 100 animals, the ones in the surrounding areas come in, and they have to keep doing it year after year."

If culls are not actually a long term solution, then why are deer culls carried out anyways? Kazakoff believes he has the answer to that as well.

"It's to make themselves look like they're doing something. So if people complain about deer, the quick, cheap, easy solution is to kill some. So they say to the townspeople, 'Look, we're doing something, we killed the deer for you', and that's why they do it."

If you do believe culls are a long term solution, then you're most likely mistaken. It is true that in the long run, you'll have to keep culling deer to keep urban deer numbers down, due to that 'vacuum effect' Kazakoff mentioned. This point of view is also supported by the province, as Wildlife Conflicts Prevention Coordinator Mike Badry details.

"In isolation, a cull will not be an effective long term resolution to deer conflicts. If you still have all the same reasons why deer are thriving in your community, then deer will continue to thrive and they'll rebound from any kind of population reduction."

Badry and Kazakoff agree that education is the key to stopping deer conflicts. Instead of seeing deer killed, the Deer Protection Society would rather that communities invest in education programs to inform people to keep attractants away and to never intentionally feed the deer.

In Invermere, the recent approval of a deer cull has the Protection Society up in arms, particularly because there is little scientific proof supporting culls, and how there wasn't sufficient public input allowed on the matter, except for the referendum. This previously sparked a lawsuit from the Society against Invermere. However, Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft isn't too concerned about the lawsuit, or the Deer Protection Society.

"Ultimately we believe that this is a small group of radical people, who are trying to bully a municipality and waste our resources. So we're not going to sit down and take that."

The appeal over the cull isn't expected to hit courts until next year. In the meantime, the cull will most likely be carried out. Even though there are arguments, debates over scientific proof and now lawsuits, there is one thing everyone can agree on: The deer are not going away forever.

"I would say there's never going to be an absolute zero level of conflict with deer," says Badry. "That would mean we don't have any deer within communities, and I think that's unrealistic."

For more information on the Deer Protection Society's stance on culls, including their own data, go to bcdeerprotection.org

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kimberley Councillors had a gallery full of protesters

Kimberley Council votes to cull 30 deer

Kimberley Councillors had a gallery full of protesters as they voted for a 30-deer cull this week. - Jeff Johnson
Kimberley Councillors had a gallery full of protesters as they voted for a 30-deer cull this week.
—image credit: Jeff Johnson
In front of a group of silent protesters from the BC Deer Protection Society, Kimberley City Council approved three recommendations from the city’s Urban Deer Committee on Monday evening.
The first recommendation was that Kimberley undertake a limited cull of up to 15 deer in Marysville and up to 15 in the Blarchmont, Chapman Camp area. Council voted unanimously to go ahead with the cull with Councillors Albert Hoglund and Don McCormick absent.
Committee Chair Gary Glinz told Council said that the committee arrived at the recommendation after this year’s population counts conducted a few weeks ago. He said when they looked at counts and complaints in the Blarchmont, Chapman Camp area, they grouped together, whereas in Marysville there weren’t as many complaints but more deer were counted.
Secondly, Council voted to provide $2000 to start up an education  program in local schools.
Glinz said that the need for this arose because of some children being afraid of deer after close encounters.
It indicates a missing piece,” Glinz said. “To do it right we need someone who knows what they are doing. We want kids not afraid, but aware.”
Glinz said a professional would be needed to deliver the program because the School Board is careful about who they allow to speak to students.
It has to be non-political, non-partisan and age appropriate,” he said. “It’s worth approaching a professional to put the curriculum together.”
Thirdly, Council voted to continue to lobby hard for aversive conditioning — both through MLA Norm Macdonald and any other opportunity to speak to the government.
Aversive conditioning, or hazing, has been tried in Kimberley under a special permit but continues to be illegal under the BC Wildlife Act. Council is concerned that it has been quite some time since the trial (last May) with no movement on amending the Act.
I have to express my disappointment with the BC government,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley, who sits as council rep on the deer committee. “It’s just been so slow. I really feel strongly Kimberley could utilize this tool. This is an option that has some viability. I hope Norm Macdonald can push it along.”
Coun. Kent Goodwin said he was a little concerned about sending a mixed message to the government.
We are saying the deer are not our problem, but on the other hand we are saying give us more tools to deal with them. Maybe the province should be doing the hazing,” Goodwin said.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BC Deer Protection Society protests at Kimberley council meeting

By the Broadcast Center News Team
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kimberley council may have approved a second cull for the city Monday night, but that doesn't mean all residents are pleased with the outcome.

The British Columbia Deer Protection Society were in attendance at the meeting of council, bringing with them protest signs, speaking out against the deer cull approved last night.

Some of the messaging on the signs said "Educate, don't annihilate," "Culling wastes tax dollars," and "Culling is inhumane and ineffective."

The Society also sent a letter to the city, outlining their stance on the deer cull and urging council to vote against any motion involving lethal population control.

A letter the society sent to city council states that council shouldn't "shine more negative light on Kimberley by choosing to slaughter deer once again."

The letter also quotes the BC SPCA, saying Kimberley "must aim to address the cause of the deer habituation, rather than opt for a convenient, short-term action that will divide its citizens."

Council has been discussing measures around urban deer for a number of meetings, leading up to the approval given for a second cull at Monday night's meeting.

Monday, December 9, 2013

PETA's Letter to the CRD

December 4, 2013

To: Alistair Bryson, Chair, Capital Regional District Board of Directors
Capital Regional District Board of Directors
From: Jodi Minion, Wildlife Biologist/Issues Manager, PETA

Re: Deer management program

Your urgent attention is requested.

PETA is an international animal protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands residing in British Columbia. We understand that the Capital Regional District is sanctioning the clover trapping and killing of deer in local municipalities in the apparent hopes of controlling the deer population. With utmost respect we must advise that this is a cruel and ineffective form of wildlife control. Every minute spent trapped is a terrifying eternity for these easily frightened prey animals, who can badly injure themselves in frantic attempts to get free. Video of a panicked deer caught in a clover trap can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XezJJNzg3nY. Lethal initiatives also tear families apart, leaving young/weak animals vulnerable to starvation and dehydration.

Please know that lethal methods fail to control unwanted animal populations, and actually backfire. This is because a spike in the food supply results, prompting accelerated breeding among survivors and newcomers. Populations actually increase. Effective deer management plans are adaptive and integrated, the keys being strictly-enforced wildlife feeding prohibitions and habitat modification (e.g., exclusion and deterrents) in residential/landscaped areas, along forest edges, and in restoration and riparian corridors (see attached document). We are happy to advise in greater detail.

May we hear back from you soon that the cruel trapping initiative will be cancelled? Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Description: Description: http://mysite.peta.local/home/jodi-m/Personal%20Documents/Official/CID/Jodi.bmp
Jodi Minion
Wildlife Biologist/Issues Manager

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Letter to the editor in response to Elkford's plan to 'harvest' deer

Please don’t kill deer, Elkford.  The impending cull is a disturbing about-face from the admirable declaration on your town’s website that “Elkford remains a place where nature prevails – and humanity borrows a bit of space.”

Your committee has worked hard and they’ve followed the advice given in the Urban Ungulate Conflict Analysis written.  The town thinks it has an effective solution to resolve conflict between citizens and deer.  However, the advice was flawed and the solution will not work.

There is no biology or wildlife science involved in the decision to undertake lethal population control.  In fact, it appears that mule deer numbers in SE BC are in troubling decline and the only places with stable populations are towns.  No matter how many deer are seen in un-scientific counts, there is no over-population.  In some of our communities, such as Fernie and Grand Forks, it appears populations in town are also decreasing.

We all have natural habitat within and just beyond our boundaries.  Ungulates are transient and will continue to migrate in and out of town after culling.  In every jurisdiction that culls, it is ongoing and may become an “annual culling program” as it is in Helena, MT, the model for the BC report.  Kimberley is talking about culling again – after 100 deer were killed just 2 years ago.  The cost increases too – rising from $300 to $625 per deer in Cranbrook in their controversial, secretive program last spring.

BC SPCA wrote recently, “the proposed cull actions are not a scientifically sound or sustainable solution.” And further, “an indiscriminate cull like that conducted in Cranbrook which neglects considerations for gender and age class is unethical and contrary to generally accepted principles of wildlife management.” They said communities “must aim to address the cause of the deer habituation, rather than opt for a convenient, short-term action that will divide its’ citizens."

The “harvest” of deer in Elkford is not ethical hunting nor is it a cost-effective way to provide meat to food banks.  The Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club code of ethics states they have “a deep respect for the game they pursue” and that they will harvest game only in “fair chase”.  Last spring, deer meat cost Cranbrook citizens $13 per pound.

Finally, the emotional and social impact of slaughter hurts communities.  While we are decorating with artificial deer and singing about Rudolph – council plans a slaughter.  The brutal killing method was never devised for wildlife and is considered in-humane outside slaughterhouses.

Elkford, please be true to your theme.  With compassion, tolerance and patience you will prove your willingness to share the “bit of space” that is crucial to the wildlife. 

-Devin Kazakoff

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

IDPS going to Appeal Court over deer

Posted: December 3, 2013

Just when the District of Invermere thought it was safe to get down to the brass tacks of town infrastructure and management, with the 2014 budget up for discussion, it must again contend with urban deer.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) filed a notice on Nov. 25 with the BC Court of Appeal regarding the recent judgment in BC Supreme Court to dismiss its petition against the District of Invermere.
InvUrbanDeer“We are appealing the judge’s decision because we believe that a city council’s decision to kill wildlife, such as deer, should be based on reliable scientific evidence. We are disappointed that the judge did not admit some of the evidence that IDPS put forward in that regard,” said Devin Kazakoff, society president.

The District of Invermere passed two resolutions about killing deer in Invermere. It decided to reduce numbers and then maintain an artificially low population of 50 deer, the IDPS noted in a Nov. 28 press release.

“They want to cap the deer population at 50 animals for no scientific reason at all. This number was dreamed up by a committee of citizens who volunteered for the specific purpose of ridding the town of animals considered a nuisance. This is not right,” said Vince Zurbriggen, IDPS vice president.

It is obvious that deer migrating into the town from the surrounding area may negate any reduction in the local population rendering any cull ineffective, the IDPS release suggested.

District of Invermere officials say they are disappointed this issue has returned to the front burner.

“The District of Invermere (DOI) is very disappointed that the Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) continues to waste public resources and time, both those of the DOI and our Provincial Court system. The filing of an appeal is just the most recent example of many unnecessary actions by this group,” said Mayor Gerry Taft.

District voters showed overwhelming support for the district in its efforts to control urban deer population in the town during a Nov. 2 opinion poll where 729 voted in favour and 259 opposed to the deer cull question.
The IDPS believes the opinion poll, piggybacked onto the community hall referendum, doesn’t tell the entire story about how residents feel about culling as a tool to thin the deer population in town.

“An earlier survey clearly indicated how unreliable these ill-conceived opinion gathering exercises are. In that survey that forms the basis of the Invermere culling decision, residents said that “capture and euthanize” was the least preferred “management option.” We are convinced residents are just plain confused about what is meant by culling – that it is a cruel, shameful method of killing deer and further that killing urban deer is an unjustified, simplistic form of management,” the IDPS press release outlined.

“Just because it seems a majority of citizens bought into the biased message that killing is necessary does not mean that majority-rule is a valid method of determining wildlife biology management decisions. The district chose to use an ineffective, in-humane method to appease complainers,” said IDPS director Sue Saunders.

Municipalities must step back and avoid making unscientific, hasty decisions about wildlife management – a subject that by their own admission, they know little, the IDPS continued, adding, wildlife expert Wayne McCrory said this about Invermere: “If the issue is to reduce the numbers and dependency of the mule deer now living in the community then I don’t think the cull is a good long-term social and biological solution. A much more comprehensive understanding and approach is needed that includes a much greater emphasis on a program of non-lethal approaches.”

Taft said the district has done everything it can to take a measured and fair approach to the problem of deer roaming freely through the town.

“The DOI remains confident in our position and stands behind the processes we have followed, which are processes set out by the Provincial Government and their wildlife biologists,” he said, adding the district will continue to look after residents’ tax dollars by fighting to ensure the IDPS bears all court costs.

“We will continue to push for the IDPS to post securities and guarantees of their ability to pay court costs, and we will also be seeking assistance from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities around legal fees. Our goal is to manage and minimize the financial burden a small group of radical individuals, who do not respect the will of the majority of the DOI population, can cause to the taxpayers. We will not be bullied,” Taft told e-KNOW.

Kazakoff said the IDPS continues to support “true science-based wildlife management within municipal boundaries if it is well-funded and long term. The plan must be humane and derived from thorough understanding of wildlife populations. Managers must anticipate and measure the consequences of all management actions. Wildlife science, not public opinion, should form the basis of a municipal wildlife management plan,” he concluded.

For more: http://www.e-know.ca/news/invermere-supports-borrowing-cull/

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Saturday, November 30, 2013

“What I fear most has come upon me.”

Let's Be Responsible
Dear Editor:
The awful feeling that’s in the pit of my stomach and the heartache that goes along with it is difficult to explain. How can our system fail so badly? Only Invermere land owners are allowed to vote on the deer cull! As far as I know, we all live in this wildlife corridor from south of Cranbrook to north of Golden. How on earth can 729 landowners from Invermere decide on the fate of these beautiful creatures who belong to no one. This valley is much coveted because it is a wildlife corridor and it is here for us all to enjoy and project.
It was in extremely poor taste that something as sensitive as the deer cull was voted on alongside a vote for a new community centre. What kind of a community are you building? What kind of example are you setting? May I suggest a poor one on both accounts? Your 729 votes mean nothing to me — this is ludicrous!
For the past two months, I have personally visited every deer that I could find in the town of Invermere — call it my own personal study. Not one deer was aggressive. Quite the contrary. They all moved away from me, including the bucks. I have counted about 75 deer (if I haven’t counted some twice). I believe this attitude of fearmongering is uncalled for! These are gentle, shy creatures — not predators!
If you are afraid of these animals, it is in your own head. “What I fear most has come upon me.”
Many of us are here in this valley because we love the animals and choose to live alongside them. If you do not like the deer, you should definitely consider moving out of a wildlife corridor.
This is not the responsibility of Invermere council to decide what happens to the deer. Absolutely not!

The answer to this whole mess is so simple: grow up. Take responsibility for your own yard (in other words, put up a fence); quit being lazy and irresponsible; and stop passing your poor behaviour on to the town council to handle — it’s not their responsibility!
Town council is not your mommy or daddy. It’s time to make a decision to build a fence or not! It is up to you. You don’t want your community to be boycotted because of your childish behaviour, do you? Remember, everyone around the world is watching.
Margaret Porcina

Thursday, November 28, 2013

SPCA wants deer cull off the table

by  Christopher Sun - Victoria News
posted Nov 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM— updated Nov 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM
A buck shows no fear in modern suburbia. - File photo
A buck shows no fear in modern suburbia.
— image credit: File photo
The BCSPCA and others are demanding Oak Bay council reverse its decision to allow a deer cull in the district, saying the lethal approach will not end the problem.
Two weeks ago, Oak Bay council voted five to one to sign onto the Capital Regional District’s deer management pilot project, which recommends the culling of up to 25 deer, with the meat, antlers and hooves going to the Songhees First Nations. Coun. Cairine Green was the lone dissenter and Coun. Tara Ney was absent for the vote.
BCSPCA manager of wildlife services Sara Dubois said Oak Bay’s approval for a cull is “misguided” and a “knee-jerk reaction.”
“We’ve heard from a lot of our supporters who are really upset with this deer cull,” Dubois said. “Take the cull off the table and have a conversation with deer management experts.”
BCSPCA CEO Craig Daniell wrote a letter to council in late June, expressing his organization’s opposition to a deer cull in Oak Bay. The letter asked for community consultation on the issue and enforcement of local bylaws as locals are feeding deer, encouraging the animals to stick around and multiply.
Dubois said deer control is under provincial jurisdiction and the province should be dealing with the issue directly. She cited a cull in the interior, where of the 25 deer killed, 11 were the wrong species.
“Responding to wildlife is not something municipalities have experience in or have the support and resources to do,” Dubois said. “It’s an indiscriminate cull. … They have no sense of the deer population.”
The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals is also against the cull and has launched a letter writing campaign on its website, directing the public to voice their opposition to Oak Bay council.
Executive director Lesley Fox said culls do not work.
“You kill 25 in Oak Bay and 25 from Saanich will just walk in,” Fox said. “This is a total waste of taxpayer money. Redirect the money being spent on the cull to help those specific homeowners who are complaining.”
Fox said the province is to blame for deer overpopulation, as it allowed the indiscriminate killing of wolves, creating the deer imbalance. She said this cull will stain Oak Bay’s reputation.
“It sends a bad message to the community, that animals are disposable,” Fox said. “Part of being a Canadian, and being on the island, is being able to share (your space) with a variety of species and deer is one of them, like it or not.
“This is nature, we are part of it and we live with it.”
The association’s mandate is to protect fur bearing animals such as fox and mink, however the increasing number of deer culls in the province is concerning its members.
“We are really scared this is going to be a pattern,” Fox said. “What’s next? Coyotes, raccoons and maybe the year after that Canada geese?”
Fox was in talks with a number of groups and people about spaying deer with a vaccine called SpayVac. Her organization was exploring the idea of donating $50,000 toward spaying, if it meant no cull. However, she said there are other avenues that residents can take to remove deer from their property. The Association for Fur Bearing Animals, BCSPCA, DeerSafe and Friends of Animals have put together a booklet that will be distributed in Oak Bay to teach people how to live with deer.
Is spaying the answer?
Mark Fraker is a biologist and president of SpayVac for Wildlife Inc. and TerraMar Environmental Research, based in Sidney. He said SpayVac was originally developed at Dalhousie University for the Department of Fisheries and Ocean to spay seal.
Fraker modified the drug, which is derived from pig protein, so it can be used on deer, wild horses and elephants. The drug is a vaccine injected into the animal and preliminary tests have shown that it can prevent pregnancy for up to six years. The life expectancy of deer is typically seven to eight years.
The drug costs $200 per dose and approval must be granted by Health Canada and the province’s wildlife veterinarian. While the approval process is cumbersome, Fraker said it’s not impossible.
“I have experience with the paperwork, it’s not bad,” Fraker said, explaining it would take six months to get all necessary permits in place or sooner if an emergency application is made. “Any vet, under the veterinarian act in the province, has the authority to sign a one page piece of paper to get the drug for emergency use and the federal government will release it.”
The drug is considered experimental as it has not been widely used. However, Fraker has used it in the United States and locally, at CFB Esquimalt and Maple Ridge, with positive results.
“(In Maple Ridge) there were 10 females and they had 12 (fawns). Five years down the road after they were treated, there was only one born instead of 60,” Fraker said. “These are typical results. That was a 50-times reduction in fawns being born.”
The best time to vaccinate deer in Oak Bay would be in the late summer and early fall, when there is shortage of food, likely when the cull would take place as well.
Fraker does not earn royalties from SpayVac sales as it’s owned by a pharmaceutical company. He earns his income as a consultant and on contracts to vaccinate animals with the drug.
Local biologist Rick Page is also a proponent for SpayVac. He said the culling of deer requires trapping the animal and then stunning it in the head with a bolt gun, which does not instantly kill the animal.
“After they get knocked out with a bolt gun, their throats are slit,” Page said. “They are killed by bleeding out. … The deer will be put on a plastic sled to bleed out on instead of the ground.”
Page also said female deer have proven to be territorial in urban surroundings, which makes SpayVac a better option.
“They essentially keep the other does out,” Page said. “It’s the bucks that travel.”
Mayor Nils Jensen said Oak Bay and the Capital Regional District have worked on a deer management plan for two years. He has personally met with various groups and individuals over the years to find a non-lethal solution to dealing with the deer problem and all alternatives have been explored, which is why council finally made the decision to allow a cull.
“It’s not a decision we have taken lightly,” Jensen said. “We have had countless meetings on this issue.”
Jensen said SpayVac was something he was very interested in, but it’s an experimental drug that would be used in conjunction with a research proposal that needs funding, something that has not materialized.
“I don’t think there is enough science behind SpayVac,” Jensen said, adding that council’s biggest concern is public safety, which needs to be addressed now.
“I heard a story about a child who came very close to being trampled on by deer. I have heard of dogs almost getting trampled on. Recently I heard of a cyclist who was struck by a deer and knocked off his bike,” Jensen said. “Our (council’s) responsibility is to deal with those issues in a fair and reasonable manner and that’s what we are doing.”
Jensen also said a deer cull is just one of many things that will be used to manage the deer population.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fur flies over Oak Bay deer-cull protest at mayor's home

Sarah Petrescu / Times Colonist
November 25, 2013 07:51 PM
Ann Winberg participates in Saturday's rally in Oak Bay Village to oppose the municipality's deer-control plans.  Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist 

Marion Cumming won’t budge on her stance against the proposed deer cull in Oak Bay. But she will bring cookies — little gingerbread deer, of course — to the mayor and council as a peace offering.
Keeping a friendly dialogue going is important, she said. “That’s the key.”

Cumming and others are angry that Oak Bay council recently approved a plan to trap and cull deer, the proliferation of which has caused safety concerns in residential areas.

On Saturday, about 45 people opposed to the cull took a protest walk to Mayor Nils Jensen’s house. He wasn’t home but was upset to hear about the incident later.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Jensen said. “My door is always open at the office. I’ve met with a lot of these people. . . . This was an unfair imposition on my family and neighbours.”

Cumming, who was not part of the protest at mayor’s home, said the group was well-intentioned with anti-cull carols prepared, like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Deer.”

Kelly Carson, protest organizer and DeerSafe Victoria member, said: “In hindsight, I am very sorry that we may have upset him. I see that I need to brush up on my crowd-control skills.”

Carson hopes the council works to find a non-lethal way to deal with the deer and avoid a cull.

The mayor said they’re exploring all options and a cull is not in the immediate future.

“DeerSafe will continue to write to the levels of government that are making decisions concerning non-lethal deer management, urging them to take these alternative options seriously,” Carson said.

Other local politicians said showing up on Jensen’s doorstep crossed the line.

“Family and neighbours should be left out of public debate,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, who faced placards and graffiti at his tire business in the 1980s when a few regional district issues became heated.
“People get very passionate and have valid points. But you do hope common sense prevails,” he said.

Leonard posted news about Saturday’s protest on his Facebook page, and it turned into a public debate.
Piping in on the comments was Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, who said a confrontation with anti-deer cull activists led to his municipality being sued, his business boycotted and tampering with traps.

Former Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong never had a protest come to her home. But she did face “fowl play” in her constituency office in 2010 when six live hens were let loose by environmental protesters, who later apologized.

“It takes time to repair relationships and really talk after things like this,” she said.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin said he wouldn’t compare the deer protest with the vandalism on his family home and car in 2010 by a homeless activist. He said mayors are the most accessible politicians and the public should take advantage of legitimate avenues.

“What I love about civic politics are the chats at Thriftys or the pool,” Fortin said. “And there’s public hearings, open doors. That’s when we have our public personas on and are happy to talk,” he said.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Times Colonist covers November 23 Deer Demo in Oak Bay

Deer-cull protesters stalk Oak Bay mayor’s home

Louise Dickson / Times Colonist
November 23, 2013 10:05 PM


Demonstrators march Saturday along Oak Bay Avenue.  Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist

Protesters descended on Mayor Nils Jensen’s home Saturday, urging him to reconsider Oak Bay’s participation in a Capital Regional District pilot project to cull 25 deer over the next year.

About 45 people marched down Oak Bay Avenue carrying signs and singing. At the last minute, the group decided to bring its message home to Jensen and marched down the street where he lives.

The mayor, however, was not at home and learned about the protest later in the afternoon.

“I think it’s highly inappropriate,” Jensen said. “It really amounts to bullying to get someone to change their mind. I don’t think it adds much to the debate.”

Oak Bay council this month approved a plan to trap and kill 25 deer, with the venison, hide, antlers and hooves going to Songhees First Nation.

The aim of the $12,500 initiative is to reduce the number of deer in the municipality and calm residents who have complained about deer taking over backyards, munching on garden shrubs and devouring homegrown vegetables.

The council also cited health and safety concerns. Last year, 23 deer carcasses were retrieved from roadsides by public works crews. There have been 34 so far this year.

“The worst thing about the cull is that these animals are going to die because they are inconvenient,” said Kelly Carson, the protest’s organizer and a member of DeerSafe Victoria. “This isn’t about health and safety. This is about inconvenience and annoyance.”

Carson said she opposes the cull because the deer will not be killed humanely.*

According to the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the most common method for catching deer is baiting them with apples or alfalfa in a “clover trap” made of netting. The deer is caught in the net and killed with a bolt gun, which drives a metal bolt into the animal’s brain, similar to what is used on cattle in slaughterhouses.

Carson said the animals tend to go for the bait early, then spend the night thrashing around in the trap.

“Before dawn, two men need to collapse the trap onto the deer,” she said.

“They throw their body weight onto the deer and they use a captive bolt gun to try and fire it into the brain of the struggling animal. It can’t be done humanely.”

Another protester, Susan Ko, said she welcomes deer in her Oak Bay garden.

“I think they have just as much right to be here as we do,” she said. “It’s that simple for me.”

Ko said she was disappointed in Oak Bay council and believes members were swayed by people interested in the meat.

“The research shows this is not going to be successful and it’s not humane,” Ko said. “I know some people have hit them with their cars, and that must be very traumatic. But people crash into trees all the time. We don’t cut them down.”

Oak Bay council will continue to look at the deer management issue. The terms of reference set out steps — including public education — that have to be taken before the cull takes place, said Jensen.

“It’s conceivable once we’ve taken these other steps, we may not need to take the cull,” he said. “The cull’s been approved if we get to that stage. … I fully appreciate this is an emotional issue for a lot of people and for council.”


* “Carson said she opposes the cull because the deer will not be killed humanely.”  Killing cannot be done humanely.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clover Traps Coming to Oak Bay?

After turning down a sign last month that a local resident wanted to erect in a high deer collision area in Oak Bay, Mayor Jensen referred to visible deer signs as "visual pollution."

Citing deer/vehicle collisions as a main concern, council has now decided that killing 25 deer will be appropriate, and set aside $12,500 to move forward with a limited cull.

According to the Council Staff Reports, property owners have already come forward to offer their land to clover traps. There has been no discussion concerning neighbouring properties, or the rights of those property owners to quiet enjoyment of their own homes.

The Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations have guidelines for municipalities looking to procure a trap and kill permit. Mike Badry, the Wildlife Conflict Prevention Manager for MFLNRO, spoke recently at a Fur-Bearer Defenders wildlife conference. He noted that these permits are not “just given out” and that municipalities must demonstrate that they have tried other deer/human conflict mitigation methods before they can qualify for a kill permit.

Yesterday the mayor told the media that Oak Bay will move toward public education and road signs. Will a few weeks of “other deer/human conflict mitigation” be sufficient for Oak Bay to secure a kill permit in order to cull 25 deer in January 2014?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flagged as ‘critical’ to deer habitat, area near Cathedral Grove was turned over to logging

Mark Hume
VANCOUVER The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Nov. 05 2013, 9:30 AM EST
Decade-old government documents show that an area being logged near Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island was identified by Ministry of Environment biologists as critical winter habitat for deer that had to be protected.
Environmental groups have been protesting the logging in recent weeks, arguing that a 40-hectare patch on Mt. Horne is an important wildlife corridor. But Island Timberlands is permitted to log there because the government took the land out of Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 44 in 2004, putting it under a private land management regime that allows the company to decide what’s best for wildlife.
Government e-mails viewed by The Globe and Mail show that in 2001 and 2002, several officials in the Ministry of Environment fought to protect ungulate winter ranges, describing them as the most important habitat of its kind on Vancouver Island.
“We should be prepared to die in the trenches if designated [ungulate winter ranges] on these lands get thrown out,” Doug Janz, then British Columbia’s senior wildlife biologist, stated in one e-mail to ministry colleagues.
“These drainages have the best quality ungulate winter ranges and the highest use by deer anywhere,” wrote Bob Cerenzia, a wildlife technician at the time. “To have these areas arbitrarily removed from Government protection has me feeling that I have wasted the last 27 yrs. of my working life in which I spent considerable time ‘keeping the hounds at bay’ so to speak. If we cannot ensure the retention of these critical deer winter ranges, then in my opinion, we could lose our deer populations in these drainages!”
The government went ahead with the conversion of TFL 44 lands despite the protests from staff, but ministry officials signed a letter of agreement with Weyerhaeuser, which then held the land, to continue negotiations over the winter ranges.
Mr. Cerenzia, who is now retired from government, said those talks stalled after Weyerhaeuser sold the lands to Island Timberlands. He said the amount of critical winter range left on Vancouver Island has hit rock bottom.
“We shouldn’t be removing any of those regions we identified as critical winter ranges, because we don’t have enough ungulate deer winter range to start with,” he said. Asked what would happen if the critical winter range is cut, Mr. Cerenzia said: “I would say you’d see a drastic reduction in the amount of deer you are going to have out there.”
But the logging company isn’t violating any regulations, said Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson.
“Island Timberlands is fully within its rights to log its private land,” he said in a written statement. “There was an ungulate winter range that covered part of the private land when it [was] managed as part of Tree Farm Licence 44 … however, Island Timberlands now manages for wildlife habitat in a way that meets their needs.”
Darshan Sihota, CEO of Island Timberlands, could not be reached for comment despite several calls.
Scott Fraser, the NDP MLA for the area, just outside Port Alberni, said he has talked with Mr. Sihota about the issue.
“The meeting I had with Mr. Sihota, he said ‘it’s our land and hey, if we were doing anything wrong the minister would have told us,’” Mr. Fraser said. He said Mr. Thomson should step in because the government’s own records show the area is vital to deer, which move there to feed and shelter during the winter.
“There is science on this. This is critical habitat that should never be cut,” Mr. Fraser said. “I have FOI [freedom of information documents] showing ministry staff vehemently disagreed with Island Timberlands doing anything on this land, [saying] that logging it will cause irreparable damage.”
Mr. Fraser said the forest was considered a “no-go area” for decades by the two companies that previously held TFL 44, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. and Weyerhaeuser.
But after 70,000 hectares on Vancouver Island was removed from TFL 44, the new owners, Island Timberlands, began cutting into the areas identified as ungulate winter ranges, arguing that it could do so without putting deer at risk. Of the 2,400 hectares of land designated for wildlife protection, only about 900 hectares remain unlogged.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deer sign receives thumbs-down from Oak Bay council

Marion Cumming holds a sign she hopes the municipality will place along Foul Bay Road, which has a lot of deer crossings. She presented the sign to Oak Bay council last week.
Christopher Sun/News staff

By Christopher Sun - Victoria News
Published: October 29, 2013 3:00 PM
Updated: October 29, 2013 3:38 PM
An Oak Bay deer lover hopes a road sign she designed and had created will be placed along a low-speed stretch of Foul Bay Road, telling drivers to slow down.

Marion Cumming presented a red-and-white sign reading, “Please Slow Down” with a picture of a deer on it, to Oak Bay council at its Oct. 15 meeting. She admits having driven faster than the 30 km/h speed limit on Foul Bay Road between Oak Bay Avenue and Fairfield Road in past, until learning it is a heavily used pathway for the animals.

“When I found out it is a deer crossing, I slowed down,” Cumming said, adding that most people speed along it. “People don’t think there is any reason to slow down to 30 km/h.”

Cumming spent $125 to create the sign. If people knew there were deer in the area, she said, they would slow down and follow the speed limit. However, council wasn’t enthusiastic about adopting it for use.
“We already have deer warning signs on some of our roads,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “We always try to have standardized signs to limit visual pollution.”

Jensen later said it is a challenge creating and placing signs, because too many can cause confusion and often leads to them being ignored.

While Jensen recalled seeing a deer caution sign on Cadboro Bay Road, he couldn't recall seeing one on Foul Bay.

Cumming said another sign would add something different to catch people’s attention. She also spoke to Oak Bay’s engineering department and was told the design and placement of any signs are ultimately up to council.

“The next step is I will go back to council,” she said.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

IDPS disappointed but undaunted

The members of Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) are disappointed the BC Supreme Court dismissed its petition challenging the District of Invermere on urban deer culling, it announced this morning (Oct. 29) in a press release.

The Supreme Court dismissal comes after two “difficult years of work and fundraising to facilitate hearing our public interest trial,” the IDPS noted.
IDPS president Devin Kazakoff at an anti deer cull protest in Cranbrook last winter. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
IDPS president Devin Kazakoff at an anti deer cull protest in Cranbrook last winter. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
“We are a group of ordinary citizens opposed to lethal measures to deal with urban wildlife. Most of the money spent on the lawsuit was donated by local, caring citizens,” explained Devin Kazakoff, president of the society.

“A dismissal, with judgment neither for nor against IDPS, indicates merely that our arguments were considered insufficient. Unfortunately, the judge disallowed two critical response affidavits that severely diminished our arguments,” the press release outlined, adding, “A survey expert wrote that the District of Invermere householder survey was unreliable as a gauge of public opinion. And the second affidavit, of a highly qualified B.C. ungulate biologist, stressed the critical requirement that real science be used in municipal decisions about wildlife management. There is ample case law to stress the importance decisions are based on science.”

Charles Lamphier, IDPS director and long-time Invermere resident said, “The fact these affidavits were not used in court is unfair. But we advise municipalities to continue to acknowledge they are not expert in social or biological sciences and therefore they should step back from unsupported lethal decisions.”
The IDPS stated it is not overly surprised with the decision “but we worry about the future of deer and other wildlife living in our municipalities. The fact that some municipalities have reconsidered and decided not to apply to the province for killing permits is a victory in itself.”

“Grand Forks decided to hold off on culling and do scientific study instead, something every municipality facing deer complaints should be doing,” said Kathy Wilson, member of IDPS.

The IDPS says it will continue advocating and supporting non-lethal deer management through education, research and political action – “to defeat the killing mentality and negative attitudes to wildlife the District of Invermere so vigorously defends.”

Closing its release, the IDPS urges residents to vote ‘no’ in the Nov. 2 poll, tacked onto the referendum asking residents if they favour borrowing $5.6 million for a new community centre.

For more on the IDPS: https://www.facebook.com/InvermereDeerProtectionSociety

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Invermere deer cull upheld by B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules the public was consulted before 19 were deer culled two years ago

CBC News Posted: Oct 25, 2013 1:20 PM PT
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled today that the District of Invermere followed due process before allowing 19 problem deers to be culled two years ago.
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled today that the District of Invermere followed due process before allowing 19 problem deers to be culled two years ago. (The Canadian Press)

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled against some animal rights activists trying to stop the culling of deer in Invermere, B.C.
The district says aggressive deer are a threat to public safety, but the Invermere Deer Protection Society was arguing the town's council did not consult the community before going ahead with plans to destroy 19 deer two years ago.
Devin Kazakoff, head of the deer protection society, called the court's decision disappointing.
"They've agreed with the district on the fact that they consulted the public. We don't agree with the judge's decision, but that's what it is," he said.
Other B.C. communities had been watching this case closely because they use the same public process as Invermere to obtain permits from the provincial government to destroy deer.
Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft said the lawsuit was one of the "nastiest experiences I've ever had," and that he and his council received petitions, emails from all over the world and even death threats throughout the case.
"We're glad to have that over with," he said.
The issue of a deer cull in Invermere is not entirely settled, however. A public referendum on Nov. 2 will allow residents to decide if more permits for future culls should be sought by the district.
Kazakoff said he's confident the vote will vindicate his group's efforts.
"You get a few people that think they're aggressive of think they're a nuisance, but generally from the people I talk to... everybody loves the deer. I just hope that shows up in the vote," he told CBC News.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Compassion, Fear and Hard Lessons

Love them or hate them, deer in Greater Victoria is a topic that has brought out some very strong emotions in our citizens. A few letters of complaint to the CRD by some disgruntled gardeners has touched off a debate that has never been seen in the history of our region – should urban deer be culled now that some residents consider them a nuisance?

The nuts and bolts of such an undertaking have become onerous. What levels of government should take financial responsibility for a killing program, should culling be decided as the best “management” practice? How much input should taxpayers have in the process? Do the majority of taxpayers agree that killing is the way they want their tax dollars spent when so few residents are affected by deer? How many deer should die? Will culling in one municipality with an issue affect surrounding municipalities that have no issues with their deer?

Setting aside the political wrangling that this topic has created, there is an equally important occurrence happening here. Neighbours are pitted against one another, discussions at workplaces have become heated, and friendships have been damaged. All this before culling even occurs. Should killing begin in Greater Victoria these emotions will only escalate, creating a deeper rift among residents.

Individuals who are for killing have fallen victim to the very powerful emotion of fear. They have heard from media sources that deer carry Lyme disease, are capable of stomping our children and that they are going to kill motorists in accidents. Fear-mongering has been a surprisingly effective tool to turn people against a wild animal that they have very little to no contact with. Close on the heels of anxiety comes reprisal. An “us against them” mentality has sprung up in our city, with no need to research the actual threat, and the consequence to the deer may be the loss of their lives.

Those who believe that the deer do not deserve a death sentence are also becoming anxiety-ridden. The ease with which plans have been put into place to kill these animals has gone ahead with alarming speed, and the voices of the compassionate have been both mocked and ignored.

For more than a year now I have been out on the streets of our municipalities, asking residents to sign a petition against deer killing. I've seen first-hand what a contentious issue like this will bring out in people. I've spoken with people who love to see deer in their yards and parks, and I've had people put their faces within inches of mine and scream at me that the deer have eaten all the plants in their yards. It saddens me to see that the angry residents among us are very sure that they have a killing policy on their side, citing the deer committee recommendations as proof that culling is the only way to rid them of an irritant.

We have allowed far too much development on Southern Vancouver Island to ever return to anything that will approach a comeback to a natural environment. Pockets of Gary Oak meadows hemmed in by roads and development, where only preferred species are permitted to survive (depending on the aesthetic values of the “stewards” of the day) are yet another urban garden.

Perhaps the most alarming effect that culling deer will have will be a social one. In a society that claims to abhor bullying, children will be taught by their communities that violence is, in fact, an acceptable way to solve problems.

A safe and healthy environment should be the right of us all. The best way to achieve that is with compassion, and a non-lethal deer management approach. This is our opportunity to use the intelligence that we so often give ourselves credit for, rather than killing out of anger and fear.

Kelly Carson

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pro-Cull Mayors Ask Premier for Help

Hospital, deer cull on the agenda

by Deborah Pfeiffer - Penticton - Story: 99087
Sep 24, 2013 / 7:09 am

In response to reports that Penticton sent a higher number of delegates than other  cities to the Union of BC Municipalities convention, Mayor Garry Litke said there was a reason most of the council attended.
Primarily that the city wanted to be well represented when pushing for the expansion of the Penticton Regional Hospital.
"We were there to ensure that by this time next year, the business plan will be completed, so that we can get treasury approval, so that construction can begin," he said. "I think Minister of Health Terry Lake was taken aback by the show of support and we had a very productive meeting."
All of the councillors, with the exception of John Vassilaki, attended last week's Vancouver convention, along with the mayor and city manager.
In addition to the discussions on the hospital,  individual councillors had their own agendas from the lack of skill trades training in Penticton to cultural tourism and making the city even more of a cycling destination.
Litke said he was also pleased the UBCM backed the council's resolution on photo radar in school zones.
The resolution stemmed from problems with speeding at Parkway Elementary School, calling for better solutions.
Litke also participated in a meeting on urban deer, with other mayors dealing with the problem from Invermere , Cranbrook, Kimberley and Vancouver Island.
In that meeting with Premier Christy Clark, Litke said issues ranging from safety to devastation of the urban landscape by animals that have no desire to live in the wild anymore were discussed.
Foremost on the minds of many was the deer cull case in Invermere that is presently before the courts.
The problem in Invermere began in December of 2011,  when the city hired a contractor to move ahead with a cull and a group calling itself the Invermere Deer Protection Society got upset and sued the city, claiming emotional damage from the trauma of imagining the deer being killed.
"Invermere is facing huge legal costs and people around the world are sending hate mail to the poor young mayor," he said. "So we are asking the premier to assist with the situation, because it has grown bigger than any municipality can handle."
Penticton will continue to watch what happens with the case, in the meantime working on gathering data on alternative means of deer control such as hazing or contraceptives.
"The research will be assembled, because we are looking for a solution," he said. "And we are happy the premier was so receptive and willing to work on this. She was very empathetic to our plea to do something about this because it is a wildlife issue not a municipal issue."

Sunday, September 22, 2013


DeerSafe Victoria learned of a buck with netting on his head on August 19.  In that incident the netting had covered the buck's mouth and he was later reported on Linkleas Ave by several residents.  A Conservation Officer told DeerSafe that he had tranquilized the buck and removed the netting.  Yet another buck in Oak Bay has been seen with the same netting caught in his antlers.  The following is the CTV story:

A black tail deer has found itself with an unfortunate new headdress.

CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, September 20, 2013 9:38PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 20, 2013 9:43PM PDT
Conservation officers say there’s nothing they can do to help a deer that’s found itself with some humiliating new headwear.
Residents in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay first noticed the blacktail buck a few weeks ago sporting what appears to be a curly new hairdo.

On closer inspection, they realized the Don King of deer had actually got its antlers tangled up in some plastic garden netting.


Don King of deer
A deer on Vancouver Island has found itself stuck in plastic garden netting, and there's nothing authorities can do to safely help. Sept. 20, 2013. (CTV)
“I was going to try and help him but decided I better not,” said Oak Bay resident Mia Barkasy. “So I took a picture of him and sent it to my husband saying, ‘And you think you’re having a bad Monday.’”
The netting isn’t affecting the deer’s health and doesn’t seem to bother him – but in a municipality that’s discussing a deer cull, it’s better not to stand out from the herd.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to help the deer get out.
Conservation officers say tranquilizing the animal to remove the netting could do more harm than good, so for now they’ve decided to leave it be.
Unless the situation changes, the buck may be in for a few months of embarrassment before shedding his antlers next year.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Ed Watson