Saturday, December 20, 2014

ICBC Deer Collision Numbers 2008 - 2012

Oak Bay asked for numbers of deer collisions and on February 6, 2014 ICBC sent a break-down of deer collisions for the Capital Regional District. The wild claim by Oak Bay's mayor that there will be upwards of 50 deer collisions by the end of 2014 appears to be baseless.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Quote" from Prince Andrew from May 2013

War of the Roses: Princely advice on deer intruders in Government House gardens

Louise Dickson / Times Colonist
November 29, 2014 09:37 PM
A buck hangs out in Rockland.   Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist
A member of the Royal Family has some advice on the local deer problem.
In May 2013, Prince Andrew was visiting Victoria to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Highland Games. Touring the gardens at Government House, the prince stopped to talk with a large group of volunteers present for his official opening of the rose garden gates.
“Prince Andrew asked why there were no roses in the rose garden,” one of the volunteer gardeners recalled.
“We told him the deer had been eating them and that we’d like to cull the deer, but we can’t because it’s not politically correct and has not been approved by the City or the Capital Regional District.”
Prince Andrew looked at the volunteers as if they were crazy, she said.
“He said ‘It’s very simple. This is what we do at Balmoral. You just get a truck. You fill it with feed. The deer come up to it and you shoot them. It’s so simple.’ ”
Adrienne Dunton, communications and events co-ordinator at Government House, said she had not heard the story and did not have a record of the remarks by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the Queen’s second son.
But 18 months later, the Balmoral solution has yet to be used to protect plants in the formal and woodland gardens at Government House, said Valerie Murray, head gardener of the Friends of Government House Gardens Society.
“We don’t want to see the end of all of the deer, but it has had a big impact on the gardening,” said Murray, who estimates 18 to 20 deer live on the grounds.
Deer started becoming a nuisance in the gardens about five years ago, Murray said.
“In the last three years, we’ve tried everything. But we just had to stop growing a lot of plants. And it’s doubly discouraging for the volunteers who also buy the plants for the gardens. If you buy rose bushes or trees and the deer eat them, you’ve lost your plant and you’re out of pocket.”
The rose gardens are now fenced and were in full bloom this summer. The 200 or so volunteer gardeners are planting deer-resistant plants such as irises, peonies, ferns and grasses.
“We experiment all the time, but the gardens used to look slightly different. There’s a similar plant palette in the different gardens,” Murray said.
Deer are also really hard on native plants such as the camas in the Garry oak woodland garden and they destroy songbird habitat as they graze through the undergrowth, Murray said.
While the deer aren’t particularly welcome, the gardens are open to the public from dawn to dusk every day of the year.
On Dec. 12, the public is invited to see the Christmas decorations at Government House. Singer Louise Rose will lead a Christmas singalong in the ballroom at 6 p.m. On Dec. 20, people can take a guided tour of Government House at 10 and 11 a.m. On Jan. 1, 2015, the annual New Year’s Day Levee will be held from 10 a.m. to noon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Injured deer spends three days in Penticton backyard as family helplessly watches


A sad ending to a rather sad story we told you about on Wednesday involving a young injured deer that spent three days in a Penticton family's backyard.
Crystal Spencer, a mother of four young children, spent three days watching from her kitchen window as young deer, estimated to be roughly 2 or 3 years old, sat injured in her backyard, her children curious and asking why the deer was just sitting there.
Spencer and her children even tried to give the deer food and water, but the animal would not respond.
Spencer says the animal was finally dealt with on Wednesday.
"After talking to you guys (Bell Media Radio) and going through the channels with the SPCA, they finally came and got the deer, they had to put it down," Spencer told AM1150 News in Kelowna.
While she wasn't there to see the Conservation Officers deal with the animal, she says the deer is now gone, but the hard part was how to tell her children.
"Everyday they'd ask, why is the deer still here?" says Spencer. "I just told my kids that she went with her family now."
It appears the deer had broken its leg while trying to hop a nearby fence, and sat there suffering for the past three days.
The question is, why had Conservation Officers not come to deal with the animal for three days?
Spencer says because the animal was partly on her neighbour's land, Conservation Officers won't act without the homeowner's permission.
By: Craig Power, AM1150 News, Kelowna

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oak Bay Struggles to Make Deer Issue ANYTHING But Gardening Issue

Poop in parks is the newest deer issue

Oak Bay continues to take baby steps toward a deer cull.
In February, 10 clover traps were stolen from a government compound in Cranbrook where they had just been transferred after use for a cull in the District of Elkford. Six were found nearby, most burned and destroyed. The theft delayed Kimberley’s planned cull of up to 30 mule deer and put a significant dent in the traps the province has to loan to communities licensed to cull.
Oak Bay staff are now preparing a report for council which will take a look at options for the district, should it decide to proceed with the cull.
“It’s not just about a cull,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “It’s a deer management pilot project. We’ve been working with the CRD. We have terms of reference to work through to complete the preliminary steps. Staff will report to council in September to chart the way forward.”
The lack of traps available for use from the provincial government has thrown a wrench into the planned fall cull.
“We’ve certainly had challenges. There are no traps, what do we do about that? Build our own, buy our own, wait for the provincial government? That’s something council will have to decide,” Jensen said.
The Capital Regional District has extended the mandate of the project to early 2015, allowing the pilot project to continue. “We continue to have support from the CRD. It’s a complex project, an important part of the process is the CRD evaluation of the process,” said Jensen.
“It’s a critical part of the whole process. It will allow other communities in the CRD to make their own decisions based on what happens in Oak Bay.”
As part of the overall management project, new signage has been put up on Lansdowne and Cadboro Bay roads. “There are two signs northbound and two signs southbound,” said Jensen. “Where the hot spots are.”
The speed reader board was also moved to a location on Cadboro Bay Road.
Despite vocal opposition from many Oak Bay residents, Jensen still believes a cull is part of the answer to controlling the deer population and reducing health and safety risks.
“In terms of last year, we had all time high numbers of deer that died on our roads and in people’s yards – this year, we’re ahead of that at this point. Last year there were 40, at the rate we’re going, we’re probably likely to see more than 50 carcasses collected,” said Jensen.
The mayor continues to get reports from residents about aggressive deer and said deer feces are causing problems in Oak Bay parks.
“Parents and grandparents are reluctant to take their children and grandchildren to the parks because of the presence of deer feces,” he said.
The cost of the cull of up to 25 deer, estimated at $12,500, may now be too low due to the delay, he said. “That is an issue council will have to examine.”
The delay is also expected to make the cull one of the hottest election issues Oak Bay has seen in recent years.
“Everything people are concerned about becomes an election issue,” said Jensen. “I’m assuming all issues will be election issues when it comes down to it.”
Jensen would not say if he will run for mayor again, only that he will make an announcement in September.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trap trasher pleads guilty

  • posted Sep 16, 2014 at 8:57 AM
One of two people involved with the destruction of deer traps in Cranbrook in February plead guilty last week in Cranbrook provincial court last week.
Lucky Sikora, who was charged with mischief to property over $5,000 after the incident, was fined $800 and must pay a victim surcharge of $240 and restitution of $1,000 after pleading guilty, as ordered by Justice Ron Webb. The fines must be paid within one year.
Another charge of disguising face with intent to commit an offence was stayed.
Devin Kazakoff, who was also charged with the same offences in connection to the  destruction of the same deer traps, will appear in Cranbrook provincial court on Oct. 21.
In February, 10 deer traps were stolen from a government building in Cranbrook. Six were destroyed by fire in the bush, while three were never recovered. One was eventually located.
The city of Kimberley had to cancel a planned deer cull after the traps were destroyed, as the plan relied on their use to capture urban deer.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Elk, cougar, mule deer affected by new regulations

by  Trevor Crawley - Cranbrook Daily Townsman
With autumn fast approaching, the provincial government is encouraging hunters to be aware of the latest changes to the regulations before the season opens.
The latest regulation guide, complete with specific information for regions across the province, is out on the shelves, while a version with the most up-to-date information also exists online.
However, there are a few big changes hunters should be aware of this season, according to Tara Szkorupa, a senior wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Management Branch based in Cranbrook.
Among the major changes of note involve elk, cougar and mule deer species.
For elk, there have been heavy restrictions put in place for antlerless — cow and calf — hunting opportunities in the south trench area stretching from Canal Flats to the U.S. border.
"Those changes are to reduce the harvest on cow or calf elk because we had population decline by about 35 per cent over the last five years, so we're trying to really minimize the harvest on the cow and calf elk," said Szkorupa.
“There’s some very limited antlerless and there’s some very limited general open seasons on private land, but most of the hunting will be through limited entry hunt (LEH) for this year.”
However, in light of the restrictions, there are still a few hunting opportunities available, she added.
“We did extend the bow season for antlerless elk and the intent for that was to continue to provide hunting opportunities while minimizing harvest,” Szkorupa said.
While antlerless elk have restrictions, there is a spike bull season in the south trench.
“This is something that we’ve had for a while to still have hunting opportunity, but when the harvest is focused on the male population, it doesn’t have as much impact on population trend,” Szkorupa said. “So we’re still maintaining that spike bull season so if people are looking for an opportunity for elk hunting, that’s still a good option for people in the trench.”
Mule deer are also facing restrictions, as any buck season is being replaced with a four-point buck season that will end on Nov. 10th. The change comes after meeting with hunters around the region to create a mule deer management plan.
“There was some concerns from some people about low buck ratios in some areas, so that was the main reason for switching the season for mule deer,” said Szkorupa.
Overall, the regional mule deer population is in decline, and biologists haven’t figured out why.
“It’s different in different areas, but overall, populations are down from a year ago. We’re actually just about to start on a big research project, putting radio collars out on mule deer and trying to understand the reasons behind the decline,” she said.
“So that’s going to be a big priority for us over the next few years because there has been some pretty dramatic declines in the populations and we’re not sure how much of that is due to habitat or predation or other factors.”
While there are changes to the mule deer season, it’s business as usual for whitetail season. Szkorupa added that biologists are keeping an eye on the whitetail deer population.
“We had a spike in the female harvest in 2012 when we made some changes to the bag limit. But in 2013, that appeared to drop off, so we’re within our target harvest right now for whitetail, so we decided to maintain the seasons as they are right now,” Szkorupa said. “But it is something we’re monitoring and we’re going to be working on this management statement and trying to really articulate what our objectives are for whitetail deer and we’ll be reassessing the seasons in a couple years.”
Outside of hunting for ungulates, there have been changes to the cougar season, which has been lengthened due to population increases, while a female quota has been removed.
“That’s because the populations appear to increasing in a lot of areas and we feel that a higher harvest can be sustained,” Szkorupa said. “…But we’re still maintaining a female quota in some areas that have a high hunting pressure. In the areas that do have a lot of hunters and a lot of interesting cougar hunting, we are maintaining more restrictive seasons to ensure that we don’t over harvest cougars in those areas.”
Szkorupa adds that along with hunting changes, there have also been new motor vehicle access restrictions put in place in a few hunting areas across the region. She suggests picking up a copy of the latest hunting regulations for more specific details on both the new hunting regulations and motor vehicle access restrictions. More information can also be found online at:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Current, CBC Aug 22 am

The Current, a national CBC radio program in Toronto, hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti, asked DeerSafe to take part in a half hour segment featuring a US author, Jim Sturba, author of “Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds."

Oak Bay mayor Nils Jensen was also invited, and DeerSafe was given 10 minutes of questions by phone to “include a clip or two of your group's thoughts on the planned cull for him to react to.”

Most Canadian listeners will not know Jim Sturba. His inclusion in the dialog on urban wildlife in Canada needs to be qualified by some context with the US “battleground” that is urban deer. Hunter's rights in the US supercede private property owner's rights. Speaking harshly to a hunter that one meets on the road is punishable by law. Another issue in the US that hasn't arisen in Canada to date is the artificial inflation of deer populations by hunting groups who sow fields of deer feed and selectively cull in order to maximize numbers. During hunting season deer/car collisions soar when deer flee hunters across a limitless range.

This makes the participation of a Vancouver Island mayor and a local animal rights group a specious inclusion in a Canadian context.

Jim Sturba: “All the while our well-meaning efforts to protect animals allowed wild populations to burgeon out of control, causing damage costing billions, degrading ecosystems, and touching off disputes that polarized communities, setting neighbor against neighbor.”

Animal cruelty is what has polarized communities, setting neighbour against neighbour. As Canadians we need to scratch beneath the surface of this manufactured issue. Complaints about desimated gardens are at the heart of deer hysteria in British Columbia. The proof is in the letters to local BC municipalities that lead up to a need for “action.” These deer are caught unawares in urban expansion and we need to do things differently.

The Current will air tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

BC SPCA is Revising Their Urban Deer Position Statement

The BC SPCA is revising their Urban Deer Position Statement. The proposed changes are below. Two hundred and nine deer died by clover trap/bolt gun killing in the Kootenays during the winters of 2012/2013. Vancouver Island communities are preparing to use the bait and trap method this winter. The BC SPCA remains silent on this new approach to culling urban deer.

2011:The BC SPCA is opposed to the inhumane culling of urban deer and encourages the use of non-lethal strategies to address urban deer issues for the long-term. Culling is only a temporary solution and should not be used as the default management practice when communities are experiencing high deer population levels and increased deer-human conflict.

2014: The BC SPCA is opposed to the culling of urban deer when there is a lack of scientific justification for it, or it cannot be achieved humanely. The BC SPCA encourages the use of non-lethal strategies to address increased human-deer conflict as a long-term solution. Culling is only a temporary solution and should not be used as the default management practice when communities perceive or measure, high deer population levels.

2011: The BC SPCA supports activities that aim to prevent conflict and educate residents about how to live in co-existence with urban deer, as the larger problem of overabundance needs to be dealt with sustainably. The BC SPCA is opposed to the feeding of deer which gradually lose their fear of people, pets and our vehicles as a result.

2014: The BC SPCA supports activities that aim to prevent conflict and educate residents about how to live in co-existence with urban deer, as the larger problem of overabundance, or its perception, needs to be addressed in a sustainable and tolerant manner. The BC SPCA is opposed to the feeding and habituation of deer, which causes them to gradually lose their fear of people, pets and vehicles as a result.


The BC SPCA understands the management of deer overabundance and tolerance, whether in urban centres or on rural properties, is a complicated issue that requires a multiple strategy approach. Overabundant deer populations result from plentiful resources and low natural predators which are often found in sprawling human-populated areas and where traditional deer habitat once existed.

2011: The relocation of mature deer is contentious as many studies have shown that high mortality and fatal injuries result from the stress of capture and transportation. Further studies have revealed that mortality is also high post-release due to enduring stress from capture and transport, the inability to adapt to unfamiliar territory, and naivety to new predators. The BC SPCA also recognizes that contraception is not available for wild ungulate populations in Canada.

2014: The relocation of mature deer should be approached with caution as studies have shown that high mortality and fatal injuries result from the stress of capture and transportation. Further studies have revealed that mortality is also high post-release due to enduring stress from capture and transport, the inability to adapt to unfamiliar territory, and naivety to new predators. More research is needed to identify conditions for possible successful relocation efforts specific to British Columbia species and terrain.

2014: The BC SPCA also recognizes that contraception for wild ungulate populations in Canada is authorized only for experimental use at this time, and supports pilot programs to test its efficacy for broader applications in future. 

2014: The BC SPCA encourages municipalities to enact and enforce bylaws that prevent the intentional feeding of deer and other wild mammals. Further community-wide measures should include:
Despite being a legal cull authorized under government permit, it may not meet humane criteria as operator experience and equipment efficacy can vary.

2011: The BC SPCA understands the management of deer overabundance, whether in urban centres or on rural properties, is a complicated issue that requires a multiple strategy approach. Overabundant deer populations result from plentiful resources and low natural predators which are often found in sprawling human-populated areas and where traditional deer habitat once existed.

2011: The BC SPCA encourages municipalities to enact and enforce bylaws that prevent the intentional feeding of deer and other wild mammals. Further community-wide measures should include:
- Landscaping education which includes plant species selection, fencing/netting and humane deterrents (motion-activated sprinklers, flagging tape)
- Training residents in non-contact hazing techniques to discourage deer from taking refuge on their properties
- Prevention of deer-vehicle accidents through appropriate fencing, wildlife corridors for safe passage, warning signage for high crossing areas and speed enforcement
- Responsible pet guardians having direct control over their pets, in order to help prevent physical contact between pets and deer

2014: The BC SPCA encourages municipalities to enact and enforce bylaws that prevent the intentional feeding of deer and other wild mammals. Further community-wide measures should include:
- Landscaping education which includes plant species selection, fencing/netting and humane deterrents (motion-activated sprinklers, flagging tape)
- Training residents in non-contact hazing techniques to discourage deer from taking refuge on their properties
- Prevention of deer-vehicle accidents through appropriate fencing, wildlife corridors for safe passage, warning signage for high crossing areas and speed enforcement
  • Responsible pet guardians having direct control over their pets, in order to help prevent physical contact between pets and deer

2011: If a cull is undertaken by a community, it must be carried out in an appropriate season to prevent the abandonment of young. It must also be conducted in a humane, responsible and sustainable manner by qualified and experienced wildlife professionals in accordance with the BC SPCA Hunting Position Statement. A public hunt within urban limits should not be permitted, as the animals targeted by the hunting public may differ from those selected by wildlife professionals. Wildlife professionals should make every effort to minimize the infliction of pain or suffering by using techniques that cause instant death.

2014: If a cull is undertaken by a community, it must be carried out in an appropriate season to prevent the abandonment of young. It must also be conducted in a humane, responsible and sustainable manner by qualified and experienced wildlife professionals in accordance with the BC SPCA Hunting Position Statement. Wildlife professionals should make every effort to minimize the infliction of pain or suffering by using techniques that cause instant death.

2014: A public hunt within urban limits should not be permitted, as the animals targeted by the hunting public may differ from those selected by wildlife professionals. In any case of lethal or non-lethal management, only those individual animals that are the source of significant conflict should be dealt with.

(Proposed revision July 5, 2014)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Oak Bay asked for an extension for it's cull

At a recent meeting of the CRD Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committee, a decison was made to extend the Regional Deer Management project, and an additional $70,000 will be added to the Regional Deer Management Strategy budget, bringing the total for the RDMS to $220,000 to date.

Claiming that it cannot be ready to proceed with a pilot project cull in Septemer, Oak Bay council requested the extension.

Evidently the Board and the Oak Bay council was unaware that culling permits are only issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations between November and March.

The claim by Mayor Jensen that the Ministry will not lend Oak Bay the clover traps due to concerns about vandalism was disingenuous in light of a recent article by Arne Petryshen in a local paper, and the July Report Recommendations from Cranbrook, that the Ministry has built ten new traps.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Deer cull delayed

by  Christine van Reeuwyk - Oak Bay News
posted Jul 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Speed readers installed in deer hot-spots are the latest step in the deer management plan for Oak Bay. Now council awaits a staff report, expected by fall.

“That’s our next step,” said mayor Nils Jensen. “We’re expecting, by the end of the summer, to get an update from our staff as to where we are on the deer management strategy. It’s an ongoing project and staff are carrying out the terms of reference.”

Part of their work right now is awaiting an update from the province on traps available for use in the planned deer cull.

“Traps have to be used if we’re going to be permitted by the province to cull their deer,” Jensen said. “We had fully expected them to provide those traps but they don’t have them.”

In February, 10 clover traps were stolen from a government compound in Cranbrook where they had just been transferred after use for a cull in the District of Elkford. Six were found nearby, most burned and destroyed. The theft delayed Kimberley’s planned cull of up to 30 mule deer and put a significant dent in the traps the province has to loan to communities licensed to cull.

District staff are also working with the Capital Regional District as it’s a joint urban deer management pilot project between the CRD and B.C. The plan includes spending $12,500 to cull up to 25 deer that would be butchered with the meat, hooves and antlers offered to the Songhees Nation.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cranbrook applies for cull permit

by  Arne Petryshen - Cranbrook Daily Townsman
posted Jul 17, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Cranbrook will be applying for a wildlife permit to cull up to 50 deer in 2014. Council approved the move, which directs city administration to apply for the permit through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Mayor Wayne Stetski was quick to point out at the Monday, July 14 meeting, that even if the permits are granted, it would likely be up to the next sitting council to approve any culls, as there is a municipal election coming in November.

"The way I read this one is even if council decides tonight to approve the request for up to 50 deer, for permits that are required, it does not mean that that is going to happen," he said.

"Potentially the decision to cull or not cull may very well be a decision of the next mayor and council," said Stetski.

Coun. Bob Whetham said these are basically the recommendations that came out of the Cranbrook Urban Deer Management deer survey conducted in May. Whetham sits on the committee. The survey pointed to a majority of residents wanting the city to reduce the urban deer herd.

"I think the message is pretty strong that they are asking for support from council to try to do something to mitigate the problem," Whetham said. "Previously we found that all the reported — or nearly all the reported — incidents with aggression involved people with dogs. This time we found that there were people reporting aggressive behaviour even when they didn't have dogs. That's something new to us and I think that's something we have to act on."

He said the options available to manage deer are still limited, as the only option currently sanctioned by the province is culling.

Mayor Stetski noted that he is on a committee looking at translocation of deer.

"Whether or not that would happen this fall, we're still trying to work through some of the details on it," Stetski said. "There certainly is an interest in trying two translocation projects in the East Kootenay involving two communities of which Cranbrook would be one of them. That potentially would have 20 animals move from each of these two communities."

Stetski said it is preliminary at this time and may not happen before October or November.

In the report, the urban deer committee noted that it believes another deer count would be necessary in 2014 prior to conducting any population reduction measures. The province has also purchased 10 new clover trap frames and heavy netting to replace the traps vandalized in Kimberley and Cranbrook earlier this year.

CAO Wayne Staudt said to his understanding, the city would just be applying for the permits and not required to do a cull.

"You need to get in line for these permits and get in line for the administrative process," Staudt said.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said council did get a lot of support from residents for further deer control measures.

"If we don't apply for one and don't get it, then want to do one, we're hooped," Scott said.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Arguing Against Outdated Methods

Columbia Valley Pioneer, Jully 11, 2014

Unedited version of the letter submitted by Kathy Wilson

Dear Editor:

While the retired Conservation Officer from Alberta may have the best of intentions regarding deer, education is the key. Mr. Markham said "It doesn't take an expert to see that the deer in Invermere are overpopulated and in poor physical condition”. Dr. Rick Page, a BC ungulate expert, on visiting Invermere said that we have healthy, stable population. They don’t have chronic wasting disease and they live here because the habitat is suitable. They do not attract predators and even “resident” deer are migratory.

If Mr. Markham has safety concerns for children, why does he advocate for an outdated method of wildlife management that does not work? It is well documented that when deer are killed, other deer move in. Used as a model by the Invermere Deer Committee, Helena Montana is a prime example of this. Since 2008, they have slaughtered 740 deer and will kill another 70 this year. The fact that they continue to kill year after year is proof of the program's ineffectiveness.
Council has decided to kill deer even though there is no wildlife science or risk assessment to support culling. Dr. Page offered to speak with Mayor and council but was met with no response. There are no statistics to support the imagined risk – just complaints. At least 20 people are killed by family dogs every year. Hundreds of people drown at public beaches. Mr. Markham, like council seems to believe that slaughter with no valid reason or objective is reasonable. The mayor himself admitted that killing deer every year will probably make no difference.

Asking taxpayers to kill deer to protect plants is no different than painting your house to protect it from exposure. Since when are we responsible for protecting your flowers?
It's time we start to look at wildlife management methods that are humane, current, effective, and lasting. The district and citizens would both benefit from a comprehensive education plan, strategic fencing practices, bylaw enforcement and planning to improve and create wildlife corridors and habitat. These methods work. If you believe there is a problem, why not want to use methods that works?

Poor decisions were made, challenged, and then vehemently defended. Kimberley, Penticton, and Grand Forks have all opted out of culling. I'm not sure why Invermere continues with outdated methods that don't work, but my guess is that it has little to do with wildlife management, and a lot to do with vindication.

Kathy Wilson

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Minisry of Transportation Ready to Take on Ungulates in the Kootenays

Wildlife detection system to be tested on Highway 3

The corridor between Cranbrook, Fernie, Sparwood and the Alberta border is “Ground Zero” for collisions with wildlife in B.C.
And a new high-tech wildlife detection systems will be tested on Highway 3 between Fort Steele and the Alberta border to better warn motorists about the potential for collisions.
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, announced the testing of the new technology at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at the Heritage Inn in Cranbrook.
“We recognized that one of the leading causes of collisions in B.C. is the high prevalence of wildlife on many corridors, and nowhere greater than here in the Kootenays,” Stone said. “In fact, the Cranbrook-Fernie-Sparwood (corridor) is pretty much Ground Zero for some of the highest rates of collisions in the province.
“Amongst a number of other initiatives which we’re going to move forward with, like fencing and more LED signs and so forth, we decided we’re going to pilot two wildlife detection systems here in the East Kootenay,” Stone said. “One will be just outside of Sparwood, because that area has the highest incidents of elk collisions in the province — by far. The second system will be just east of Cranbrook and it has one of the highest rates overall of collisions with wildlife, most of which is deer.
“So we thought, ‘nowhere better in the province to pilot these systems than here.’”
The combined value is $1.5 million. Stone said the technology is state of the art, using sensors and radar to identify large wildlife approaching the shoulder of the highway. When a large animal is detected, the system will trigger flashing lights on a warning sign to alert drivers of the potential hazard ahead. Drivers can then lower their speed and take appropriate steps to reduce their chances of hitting the animal.
Approximately 70 per cent of elk fatalities on Highway 3 near Sparwood occurred between October and March, a period when driving conditions are most challenging with less daylight and winter conditions.
Approximately 60 per cent of deer fatalities on Highway 3 occurred between April and September, when many tourists are travelling through the area.
An adult bull elk can weigh as much as 315 kg (700 lb) and a large adult bull moose can approach 700 kg (1540 lb). By comparison, a subcompact sedan weighs approximately 1,100 kg (2400 lb), and a motorcycle weighs between 200 and 350 kg (440-770 lb).
Stone, the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, was first elected in May, 2013, and the next month was appointed Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure — a big, sprawling, complicated portfolio.
“It’s the best ministry in government, in my opinion,” Stone told the Townsman. “It’s loaded with staff who are all about getting things done. It’s all project-based, there’s a beginning and an end on everything we do.
“I think the greatest challenge — because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenges thus far, and I’ve met the challenges head on, I think — is just the massive scope of transportation infrastructure that we have in this province. We have 47,800 kilometres of road that’s maintained by the Province. You think of the dozens of airports we have, we’ve got about 15 deepwater ports in this province, there’s responsibility for rail, for ICBC … It’s a broad portfolio with lots of responsibilities.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Theft of traps thwarts Oak Bay deer cull plan

Bill Cleverley / Times Colonist
June 23, 2014 09:29 PM


A deer bounds through the rough at Victoria Golf Club.   Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist

A theft of deer traps in Cranbrook this past winter has thrown a curve into Oak Bay’s plans for an urban deer cull.
“It appears that the province no longer has the ability to supply the traps that are required to conduct the cull program,” Mayor Nils Jensen said Monday.
“The information we received from the province is that the traps that they had to lend out have either been destroyed or stolen,” Jensen said.
Jensen said there are also concerns the cost of the deer management strategy might be more than the anticipated $12,500.
Ten clover deer traps, available for loan to municipalities, were stolen from a government compound in Cranbrook in February by someone who cut a chain-link fence to gain entry.
According to news reports, six of the 10 stolen traps were quickly found in bush near the compound, but they had been burned and were unusable. One trap was found intact. Three others were missing. RCMP estimated the total value of the traps at about $17,000.
Oak Bay has sent a letter to Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, asking that the province rebuild modified clover traps and make them available.
“The most recent information I have is we may have to manufacture the traps ourselves and that could be a costly business,” Jensen said.
Oak Bay’s deer management initiatives have been done in conjunction with a $150,000 Capital Regional District deer management pilot project which is now close to wrapping up.
CRD staff are recommending that pilot end in September.
Before Oak Bay could conduct a cull, it has to make application to the province for a permit. CRD staff say they will soon present a draft permit application for review by Oak Bay staff prior to submission to the province.
The provincial permit requirements include completion of a conflict reduction program, deer-vehicle collision mitigation, public education plans, and a deer count prior to any cull, all of which have been done.
Jensen said with the CRD pilot ending, Oak Bay will have to decide whether to proceed on its own or to appeal to the CRD to continue the pilot and provide funding.
“Funding is certainly a question mark that we’re still working on. Also the logistics, if we can call it that, is an issue that we are dealing with. How do we dispose of the meat? So we’re looking at partnerships there,” he said.
The earliest the municipality could have proceeded with a cull was this fall.
Oak Bay planned to have up to 25 deer trapped and killed.
The aim of the initiative is to reduce the number of deer killed by automobiles and to appease residents who have long complained about deer taking over backyards, destroying garden shrubs and flowers, and devouring homegrown vegetables.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Dock Side Fawn is Safe for Now

We received word tonight that the fawn who was presumed dead for three days is safe and back to bouncing around at the Dock Side Green site. Apparently we should have trusted the doe to be the good mother that she is, to have moved her little one from imminent danger.

The alarm was raised, quite understandably, by CRD residents who have grown fond of the deer that have been living behind the plastic-lined chain link fence that surrounds the property. The three day absence of the fawn after the activity of heavy machinery was a legitimate cause for concern by observers. The situation for this small herd will continue to be a serious concern as the construction of Dock Side Green progresses.

As this deer family loses it's foothold on this safe place, and they are pushed further into Victoria West and Esquimalt, there will be residents who will observe them and will assert that the deer population is exploding. Three hundred new residential units are to be added to Vic West during the next construction phase. Three hundred new residents will be noticing a deer presence. Not all of them will be happy about that. The municipality of Esquimalt has voted to cull deer if 75% of the CRD municipalities agree to this method of “deer management.” The fate of the Dock Side deer will be intertwined with the policies of both Vic West and Esquimalt.

This little fawn is not out of the woods yet.

For myself, I have learned the difference between the teats of a doe who has recently nursed and those that are milk engorged.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Tragic Tale of the Dock Side Deer

A small herd of five deer (three bucks and two does) have been living on the unused land that is awaiting another phase of the Dock Side Green development in Vic West. They eke out a living among the condominiums and the industry on the Gorge, keeping to themselves and avoiding cars when they cross Tyee or Bay Street to slip between the plastic-lined chain link fence. Behind that fence they have found sanctuary. Waving grasses and blackberries, and probably best of all, privacy, due to the security fence and the warning signs that read “These premises protected by video surveillance.”

A difficult exsistence, to be sure. But they are a young herd, and they have never known life in a forest. They are what are currently termed “urban wildlife.” A designation that acknowledges their exsistence, but in no way assures them of a right to life.

On May 23, 2014 some residents in a highrise overlooking the Dock Side site emailed DeerSafe to advise us that they had been watching a new fawn. Well hidden by her mother during the day, the little one was very active whenever the doe was present. Bouncing with youthful exuberance she would follow her mother, at times daring to stray a few yards to examine something new. Always, obediently, staying for hours where her mother put her while the doe left to forage during the day.

Her safe place became unsafe on May 27. A gravel company came to the site and began to move the piles of rocks and gravel. One resident approached the workers to advise them that a fawn was in the area, and pointed to the place were the young animal was hidden. The workers said they were aware of the fawn and they would be working in an area opposite to her. One worker “joked” that “he could always shoot it.” The next day they moved the rocks and gravel on to that very spot.

The highrise across from the site affords residents a panoramic view of the Dock Side Green site. Within hours of the gravel having been moved the doe was noticed, looking agitated. The fawn has not been seen for 48 hours.

Tonight I found the doe grazing on the Gorge side of the site. When she turned away from me I saw that her teats are painfully swollen.

The burgeoning developments in our region are inviting an ever growing human population, and with them come ever more roads and loss of natural environments. Lofty ideals of ecologically sound development, such as Dock Side Green, cannot be possible without a contigency plan that protects the indigenous residents of the area. One tiny fawn no longer scampers among the grasses at the Dock Side Green site. For many of us, her life was noticed. For her mother, her life will be sorely missed.

Dock Side Green has been contacted in writing and in person. The name of the gravel company they subcontracted is not currently known. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Deer-cull plan is ill-advised - Karen Levenson, Animal Alliance

Times Colonist May 6, 2014 01:16 PM

Oak Bay council’s decision to sign onto the Capital Regional District’s deer-management pilot project to cull 25 deer is ill-advised. The two main issues surrounding the deer — that deer eat garden plants and that they cross roadways, posing hazards to city drivers — can be solved more effectively and humanely than with a deer cull.
It is understandable that Oak Bay residents and officials want a “magic bullet” solution that will put an end to strife with deer. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet.
Oak Bay, like other communities in B.C., subscribe to the misconception that getting rid of deer will get rid of human-deer conflicts. It is an expensive mistake, one that has proven disastrous in other municipalities. Nature abhors a vacuum; removing deer will only allow those remaining to increase their offspring and will open the door to neighbouring deer.
Humane, non-lethal solutions exist. But, first, councillors need to address the conditions that attract the animals. Enforcing local bylaws that prohibit feeding deer is key, as is getting residents to protect their gardens by planting deer-resistant plants and by using protective fencing around vulnerable species.
Properly constructed roadway fencing can keep deer off hazardous stretches of road and will funnel them to wildlife crossing structures such as raised deer crosswalks or toward less dangerous crossing locations. The main solution for preventing driver-deer collisions, however, is city-wide education to help residents learn how to drive in deer-populated areas. Warning signs indicating deer crossings, speed limit reductions and defensive driving in heavily deer-trafficked areas will all be more effective in reducing deer-human conflicts than will culls, which studies have shown do not work.
Last, immunocontraception is emerging as one of the best humane options for communities that determine they must have fewer deer.
With so many options available to deal humanely and effectively with residents’ concerns about deer, city council must take a step back from its ill-informed sign-on to a deer cull and consider what is best for, if not the deer, then for residents who demand humane solutions to wildlife conflicts. Doing anything less could harm not only the deer, but their own electoral careers.
Karen Levenson
Director of wildlife issues, Animal Alliance of Canada

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Safety at the Heart of Deer Control

posted Apr 29, 2014 at 10 ;00 AM Victoria News

In the fall of 2013, Oak Bay council agreed to participate in the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Deer Management Strategy pilot program. We did so at the urging of hundreds of residents who expressed concerns over the growing number of black-tailed deer on our streets and in our neighbourhoods.

Public safety is of paramount importance. In the absence of any natural predation, the deer population has increased dramatically, and as a consequence, so are the incidents of deer/human conflict on the rise.

In 2012, 23 deer died, mostly as a result of collisions with vehicles. Some were so badly injured that they had to be put down by our police officers. In 2013, these numbers grew to 40, and already in 2014, we have had 10 deer fatalities. To put this into perspective, in May of 2013, six deer deaths were recorded. The trauma involved for these habituated deer, and for the people involved in these incidents, is a great concern for council, and for Oak Bay citizens.

The responsibility for wildlife management in British Columbia rests with the provincial government, and in speaking recently with the provincial wildlife veterinarian, she confirmed that the challenges we face in Oak Bay, in municipalities throughout the Capital Region, and in communities across the province, are increasing in intensity.

We ask all Oak Bay residents to actively focus on conflict reduction throughout our pilot program. If population reduction is warranted, we will be following the direction of those professionals within the provincial government who have the expertise and the authority in these matters. 

The goal of the CRD Deer Management Strategy pilot program is to reduce deer/human conflict.

In today’s Oak Bay News you will find two CRD brochures, we ask that you review them both with your families and your neighbours. Learning to live safely and sensibly with urban deer is a responsibility that we must all share. These are wild animals – they are not pets.

Over the past months, Oak Bay has strengthened municipal bylaws to discourage deer from settling in our neighbourhoods, These changes include increased fencing height allocations and increased fines for feeding deer. Fines of $300 will now be levied for feeding deer in Oak Bay. In addition, we are continuing to support deer resistant planting choices in our park and garden areas, and we are employing the use of deer repellents to make it unpleasant for the deer to forage. Actions that discourage the settlement of deer are important components of the CRD Deer Management Strategy. Oak Bay’s participation in the CRD Deer Management Strategy is outlined on our municipal website at 

How to deal with the growing number of black-tail deer in our urban communities is a complex and emotional challenge. Becoming factually informed, and taking preventative actions are important first steps. 

While it is clear that deer do not respect municipal boundaries and our efforts would be much more effective if we were working collaboratively as part of a regional response strategy, it is our hope that Oak Bay’s willingness to step forward will create a better understanding and elevate the complex public safety issues involving human/deer conflict in urban communities. As the year unfolds, Oak Bay council will continue to hear from residents, and we will continually re-evaluate our deer/human conflict mitigation measures.

Your safety – the safety of your children, grandchildren and pets – will continue to be our first priority.

In the coming weeks, does will be giving birth to fawns – usually twins. Does are very protective of their young and can act aggressively. We ask that you be cautious when out enjoying the warmer weather and longer hours of daylight. The burgeoning population of deer in our community means there will be more deer on our roads, so please take particular care when driving.

Nils Jensen
Oak Bay Mayor

Saturday, April 26, 2014

District of Invermere Advertises for Cull-Friendly Properties

Now that they have decided to cull thirty deer annually with a budget of $30,000 per annum, the District of Invermere has run this advertisement in the local newspaper. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Deer Irritant in Oak Bay

The witch hunt known as the Regional Deer Management Strategy took further steps this week when what was meant to be a covert deer count was begun in Oak Bay by CRD staff, accompanied by Mike Webb of West Coast Problem Wildlife Management.

Even though a call to by-law revealed that no deer feeding complaints have been recorded, and no fines have been imposed, Oak Bay council recently raised the fine for feeding deer from $100 to $300 for a first offense, $500 for subsequent offenses. Fines for feeding racoons and rabbits remain at $100. Inadequate care of companion animals, inadequate shelter of companion animals and cruelty remain at $50. A vicious dog fine is $200.

Oak Bay staff tallied the costs associated with "deer removal and disposal," and found that the costs merit a fine increase. According to this logic everyone who plants a garden and refuses to fence it is feeding deer, including city beautification plantings of petunias and tulips.

The aim of the $12,500 deer initiative is to appease the residents who have been complaining that deer are eating their gardens. The deer count that has taken place over the past two weeks is intended to help the CRD and Oak Bay create a plan, which will include a deer cull as early as September.

Oak Bay will find some stumbling blocks along the way, however.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations only issues deer killing permits for the months of November to March. November municipal elections will probably be very bad timing for a mass slaughter of deer in the CRD.

And then there is the rumour that the Ministry will not lend their clover traps to Oak Bay due to concerns of vandalism. In 2011 the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations paid $15,000 for ten deer traps, two bolt guns and a plastic sled to bleed out the deer. Communities in the CRD that have expressed an interest in a clover trap “pilot project” (Oak Bay, View Royal and Central Saanich) may be viewed as too risky for the loan, since public opposition to these culls has been very vocal.

The witch hunt began with an invitation via the Times Colonist from the CRD to residents to write in to a designated email address with their complaints about deer in early 2011. It progressed with a Citizen's Advisory Group that included a bow hunting lobbyist (and in which two appointees resigned citing “an irretrievably flawed process”), and an online survey that was not even given honourable mention in the CAG's RDMS report.

It would seem that the biggest headache for the levels of government that have tasked themselves with the appeasement of gardeners and careless drivers isn't the opposition to culling or even the deer themselves. Their lack of meaningful research into non-lethal human/deer mitigation methods and best scientific practises has given way to knee-jerk political positioning. If only they could remember what is at the heart of this irritant – animal abuse and society's response to out-of-control change for us all.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Read

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oak Bay Deer Count Under Way

The CRD began a deer count in Oak Bay the week of April 7 – 11. Taking part in the count are three CRD employees, including Jeff Weighman, two animal control officers, and Mike Webb who owns West Coast Problem Wildlife Management, a local business with only a cell phone number to contact.

Forty four deer were seen this week during early morning counts. Can they prove that the same deer weren't counted more than once?  Next week the counts will continue in the evenings.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pro-cull City "Pleased" With Early Response to Deer Cull Survey

The city of Cranbrook has posted on their website that they are "pleased" with 500 responses to their deer cull survey.  They have not checked the IP addresses of the respondents as yet.  Some residents have reported that they were able to complete and submit the survey online twice, even three times. "We've had a couple of small issues arise shortly after the survey went public, but those have been corrected," says Zettel.  Can Cranbrook council assure everyone that these 500 responses weren't the result of several residents completing the survey more than once?

The following article is from E-know.


City pleased with early response to urban deer survey

Posted: March 14, 2014

Nearly five days since the urban deer resident survey was made available to residents of the City of Cranbrook, staff is pleased with the public interest and participation.

Since the survey became available on Monday morning (March 10), just over 500 surveys have been completed both online and via paper copies. The survey closes on Friday, March 28 at 4:30 p.m.

I am quite happy with the early response of our residents,” says Chris Zettel, Corporate Communications Officer with the City of Cranbrook. “I am beginning to see some trending with some of the results, but it is still too early to make any solid conclusions yet.”

The survey is intended to provide residents an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the current deer management program and provide input to council on future direction of this initiative. The last time the public was surveyed about urban deer was September 2010. About 1,470 residents completed the 2010 survey.

Sometimes even with the best planning and testing little things do come up. We’ve had a couple of small issues arise shortly after the survey went public, but those have been corrected,” says Zettel. “I want to thank those residents that made us aware of those issues, so we could look after them.”

Residents can access the survey online on the city’s website – and click on ‘Urban Deer Resident Survey’ under City of Cranbrook Links on the homepage. Residents without access to a computer, printed versions of the survey will be available for pick up at reception at City Hall during regular business hours.

Residents requesting a paper copy must provide photo identification with a City of Cranbrook mailing address to be able to get a survey. Completed surveys can be mailed back to City Hall or dropped off by the 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 28 deadline. Postmarks will not be accepted. Completed surveys must be received at City Hall by the deadline date. Late submissions will be disqualified.

City of Cranbrook

Monday, March 10, 2014

Be Afraid, Little Girls, Be very Afraid

Cranbrook has updated their website with a new 2013 Urban Deer Annual Report.  This is the picture they chose.

"The City of Cranbrook recognizes that deer are a natural part of our environment and despite the fact that present mule deer numbers are considered low relative to other urban areas, anecdotal information from the public suggests that human and deer interactions in Cranbrook are increasing. 
Residents continue to express growing frustration with a range of deer issues from property damage to aggression towards both pets and humans."

The relentless fear-mongering continues.  We look forward to posting the latest survey from Cranbrook council.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kimberley cull done after traps damaged

Sally MacDonald and Carolyn Grant

Kimberley's 2014 cull of 30 mule deer is effectively over as four of the five clover traps being used were vandalized and damaged on February 27.

 Devin Kazakoff, a founder of the Invermere Deer Protection Society, is one of two men charged over allegations of deer trap tampering in Kimberley last week.
Kazakoff and another man, Lucky Gene Sikora, appeared before a Judicial Justice of the Peace in Cranbrook on Thursday, Feb. 27 on charges of mischief, and disguising the face with intent to commit an offence.
They were released from custody and will next appear in Cranbrook Criminal Court on May 20 to consult legal counsel.
They were released with a $1,000 bail under a number of strict conditions which include: not to enter the City of Kimberley; not to be within 500 metres of a Ministry of Forests or Ministry of Environment office or facility in B.C.; not to be within 500 metres of any lawful deer trap facility; to report to a bail supervisor and abide by a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
According to RCMP, two men were arrested early on Feb. 27 after they were observed damaging a deer trap in Kimberley and fleeing the scene on foot and then in a vehicle.
Police tracked the vehicle to a side road south of Kimberley and took the two men into custody.
A police dog found netting from traps nearby, and a search of the vehicle found items police believe were used to tamper with the traps. Four traps in total were damaged.
Kazakoff's Invermere Deer Protection Society sued the District of Invermere in 2012, claiming that council failed to properly consult residents before deciding to carry out a deer cull.
The civil suit was defeated in B.C. Supreme Court last November. That same month, Invermere voted to go ahead with deer culls in a referendum, with 74 per cent in favour of the deer management strategy.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society is a member of the B.C. Deer Protection Coalition, which has been outspoken against culls in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere. The Animal Alliance of Canada is also a member of the Coalition.
Earlier this month, 10 clover traps were stolen from a government compound in Cranbrook. Police found seven of the traps in bush nearby but six had been destroyed in a fire. Three remain missing. No arrests have been made in the Feb. 9 incident.
Mayor Ron McRae said with only one trap left, the cull is over.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Anti-cull group’s blitz threatens local tourism

posted Feb 28, 2014 at 8:45 AM
"Do you want to bring your kids to the deer-killing capital of B.C. for spring break?" That's the message the Animal Alliance of Canada is promising to bring to Calgary newspapers if the City of Kimberley gives any indication that there will be more deer culls.
The City is currently culling 30 deer from Kimberley's urban deer population (see related story, page 5).
The Bulletin reached Liz White from the Animal Alliance in Toronto on Thursday.
White confirmed that a campaign is being put together to impact tourism in the Kootenays.
However, she says the campaign won't start yet as she has heard that the City of Kimberley voted not to invest any more money into deer culls and will invest $2,500 this year in education on wildlife conflict.
City CAO Scott Sommerville confirmed that the vote took place.
"During budget deliberations at our Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, February 25, Council recommended that staff not budget for future culls," he said. "In place of the funding that would have gone towards culls, $2,500 will be put towards educational programs. The first piece of education will be to inform schoolchildren of how to avoid conflict with deer during fawning and rutting seasons.
“The Urban Deer Advisory Committee will still make recommendations to Council on how to best deal with the urban deer issue.”
“The fact is they are moving in the right direction, but that could change on a dime,” White said. “If it does, we are looking at hiring a company to help us with a campaign to look at how we could impact tourists in Calgary. We will make it clear to Kimberley that is what we are going to do. It would be better if we could bring everyone to the table to reduce deer human conflict. If Kimberley had made the decision to not proceed with culls, it would be different.
“In the end Kimberley is the one community that has tried alternatives such as hazing. It’s clear there is interest on Council to have that happen. We could work together with Kimberley to make it a model community for a comprehensive policy.”
White says that killing 15 deer in Marysville and 15 in Chapman Camp isn’t going to make “a hill of beans of difference” in the human ungulate conflict issue.
“When you trap you don’t necessarily get the aggressive deer. I’ve got to ask, why spend money if it isn’t effective?”
But White says Animal Alliance is definitely prepared to go ahead with the ad campaign if Kimberley decides to keep culling as part of their management plan.
“If Kimberley decides to go with another cull, we have to ask parents if they want to bring their kids to Kimberley for spring break. I think we can make a pretty strong case to convince parents not to come. Do you really want to bring your kids to the capital of deer culls? I don’t think you do.”

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oak Bay fine jumps for feeding deer


Wildlife 2

Feeding deer in Oak Bay is going to get more expensive. Oak Bay councillors have agreed to increase the fine for feeding deer within municipal boundaries to $300 from $100 for a first offence. Fines for second and subsequent offences will be $500.

VICTORIA - Feeding deer in Oak Bay is going to get more expensive.
Oak Bay councillors have agreed to increase the fine for feeding deer within municipal boundaries to $300 from $100 for a first offence. Fines for second and subsequent offences will be $500.
It was felt that we needed to send a very strong message to anyone who is feeding deer, because it just makes the problem worse,” said Mayor Nils Jensen.
It also is very unhealthy for the deer, who get used to grain or whatever it is they are being fed and then are unable to go back to a more natural diet.”
The fine was set at $100 in 2010 when Oak Bay last amended its animal control bylaw to prohibit feeding the likes of deer, rabbits and raccoons. Since that time, staff have begun to tally the costs associated with deer removal and disposal, and have found that the costs merit a fine increase.
Jensen expects staff to bring back the bylaw amendments next week.
He said he has heard only anecdotal reports of people feeding deer.
The municipality disposed of about 40 deer in 2013 at an estimated cost of $130 each for a total of about $5,000.
So far this year, if we continue at the pace that’s been set halfway through February, we’re going to exceed the 40, and we might see as many as 50 deer killed, mostly on our roads,” Jensen said. “There have been as many as six this year where police have attended and had to put the animal down because of extreme injuries.”
Oak Bay is working with the Capital Regional District on a deer management strategy, endorsed by council last November, that will include a deer cull later this year. Part of the program includes public education, and updating of bylaws and bylaw enforcement, say municipal staff.
Before a cull is undertaken, the municipality will have to undertake a deer count and create a plan based on the count.
Under the deer cull, the municipality will partner with the CRD to have 25 deer trapped and killed, with the venison, hide, antlers and hooves going to Songhees First Nation. The cull could happen in the fall at the earliest, Jensen said.
The aim of the $12,500 initiative is to reduce the number of deer killed by automobiles and to appease residents who have long complained about deer taking over backyards, munching on garden shrubs and flowers, and devouring homegrown vegetables.
Oak Bay’s new fine structure is not out of line with those fines for feeding deer in other municipalities, according to a staff report. Fines in other municipalities include: Central Saanich, $250; Esquimalt, $100; Saanich, $100; Victoria, $300; Kimberley, $500; and Invermere, $100 for a first offence and $250 subsequently.
In Cranbrook, it’s not treated as a ticketable offence but, subject to prosecution with fines of up to $10,000 on conviction.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kimberley's cull delayed due to trap theft

 by  Carolyn Grant - Kimberley Daily Bulletin  
posted Feb 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM

The BC Deer Protection Society out of Invermere is hitting Kimberley with flyers this week as the City’s permitted cull has been delayed because of the theft of government-owned clover traps.

Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae confirmed that the cull hasn’t begun yet, primarily because of the incident  this week where the clover traps were stolen from the Ministry building in Cranbrook and some destroyed.
“We are still on track but we can’t proceed without the traps,” McRae said. “It’s not going to deter us but obviously it will slow us down.”
The traps are owned by the provincial government. McRae was planning to meet with a ministry representative Thursday afternoon to discuss the permit time frame.
The flyers label Kimberley as a good place to waste tax dollars on killing deer and calls Kimberley the deer culling capital of B.C.
Kimberley currently  has a permit to carry out a cull of up to 30 mule deer — 15 from Marysville and 15 from Lower Blarchmont/Chapman Camp. They also had a permit to remove 100 deer two years ago.
The BC Deer Protection Society is the same group which is involved in the law suit against the District of Invermere for their deer cull.
The flyers urge people to contact the mayor and tell him to stop the cull, giving out his direct line at city hall, his cell number and email.
McRae says that the flyers came to the City’s attention early this week. They were put up around town and also on the windshields of cars at the Civic Centre.
McRae says the flyers will be discussed with city staff and there will be some kind of response.
“In the meantime, the public needs to know what kind of tactics this group will go to to achieve their ends.”
Devon Kazakoff of the Deer Protection Society says that his group is simply trying to bring awareness to the citizens of Kimberley as the City embarks on another cull.
“The intent is to get the message out on what the city is planning to do and urge the Mayor not to go through with it.
“We’ve found out it won’t start until the 15th (February). We are hoping to raise awareness and get it stopped.”
Kazakoff says that the Deer Protection Society plans to be there in any community that tries to deal with deer in a way they consider inhumane.
“Last year in Cranbrook they tried to push a cull behind closed doors. We found out and got it out to the public. We got a public apology. A city councillor even said that it was wrong. It’s not right to try to hide from people.”