COLUMN: Controlling deer comes with little help from B.C.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities even got into the act by asking the province to create a strategy for municipalities.

You either love ’em or hate ’em. Feed ’em or haze ’em.

Urban deer are making their mark in Sooke’s city core.

The ungulates feed themselves on anything that is green and colourful.

And depending on what side of the fence you’re on, they’re either magnificent animals or beasts.

The problem is municipalities have concerns with them too, and can do little to control them.

B.C. SPCA chief scientific officer Sara Dubois points out local governments have been tasked to deal with complex management issues that should be under the mandate of the provincial government.

Those problems have been handed down without the province providing resources, experience or expertise.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities, a lobby group for municipalities, even got into the act by asking the province to create a strategy for municipalities. The province complied and came with a number of options that municipalities could use, but asked those same municipalities to implement it.

The only problem is there is no verification module. For instance, if a municipality wants to conduct a deer cull, it would need to set up a committee, get community input, possibly change bylaws, do a deer count, but when the time came to do the kill and obtain a permit, the province doesn’t do due diligence to see if all has been done correctly.

Remember, under the B.C. Wildlife Act, the province “owns” all wildlife in the province.

One would think somewhere along the line their would be some accountability.

Recent culls across the province have had less than good success. In Oak Bay, with no measured deer overpopulation and no survey of community residents, the cull went ahead. After considerable opposition, 11 deer were killed without learning the local deer population or its movement. And in Elkford after the removal of 39 mule deer, the municipality is now struggling to address an unforeseen ungulate issue – elk have now moved into the habitat previously occupied by the mule deer.

These are trends that can be seen over and over again across B.C. where culls have been conducted.

The province needs to look at this method of disposing of “unwanted” animals in a more humane and logical way. To replace one problem with another is not the answer.

Municipalities need more guidance and expertise. After all, urban wildlife management issues aren’t going away, and certainly won’t take care of themselves.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(Derek Ford / District of Saanich)
Greater Victoria residents are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, but overall debt level continues to rise. (Derek Ford / District of Saanich)
Saanich gets an ‘A’ on first climate change progress report card

The document highlights sustainability improvements made in 2020 despite the pandemic

West Shore RCMP say police presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to the shooting death of a 37-year-old man in Metchosin Friday night. (Black Press Media File)
West Shore RCMP says presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to death in Metchosin

Police continue to investigate what they describe as ‘targeted incident’ in death of a 37-year-old man

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read