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