A whitetail buck shows little fear of humans in Okanagan Falls.

Province to fund urban deer projects

Communities seek ways to neuter, chase away or kill aggressive, unhealthy deer to protect people and crops

The B.C. government has committed up to $100,000 a year to share costs of “urban deer management operations,” with an advisory committee to guide communities in reducing the risks and damage caused by deer.

The province is responsible for wildlife management, but the government wants solutions to be developed locally. Some communities have resorted to killing deer, with mixed success and sometimes intense local opposition, while others suggest birth control, relocation or “hazing” of deer using dogs to keep them away from communities.

A B.C. government fact sheet advises that if deer are to be killed, they should caught in traps that look like oversized hockey nets, then shot with a bolt gun at close range. Provincial staff can lend available equipment and issue permits to manage deer populations in or near urban areas, or develop hunting regulations for local situations.

Using dogs to chase deer is illegal under wildlife protection legislation, but a permit was issued to Kimberley to do a controlled trial in 2013. City council declared the trial a success, at a cost of $300 or more a day to deploy trained dogs and handlers.

Invermere council found itself embroiled in legal action brought by a group of opponents, despite a local survey that found more than 70 per cent public support for a deer cull. Invermere officials were dealing with complaints of aggressive deer, deer eating garbage and  appearing unhealthy, cougars encroaching on the community to prey on urban deer and deer deaths that appeared to be from unlawful action.

After multiple resolutions brought to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in recent years, the province responded this week with the offer of funding and continued research. Municipalities must obtain permits from the forests ministry before attempting relocation, hazing, contraceptive measures that require handling of deer, or culls.

The advisory committee, not yet named, is to continue developing standardized methods, such as how to safely process and distribute meat from deer that are killed. In rural Central Saanich, permits have been issued to use shotguns or bows against deer to protect crops.

Another task for the committee will be to develop public consultation on methods of deer control, to head off protests, legal challenges and vigilante action.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Inaugural township-wide garage sale rated a success

‘It went extremely well,’ said veteran garage sale participant

Taekwondo Festival draws hundreds to Langley Events Centre

Annual event a showcase of Korean martial art skills, culture and music

VIDEO: Bowen Byram named top prospect

Giants defenceman recognized as premier NHL draft pick

Langley golfer James Allenby takes Canada Life Open lead

Shot career-low round at Point Grey Golf & Country Club

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

Most Read