Saturday, May 14, 2016

Deporting deer: B.C. towns try new approach with unwanted squatters

After several controversial years of killing their excess deer, a quartet of interior B.C. communities started a new system of merely deporting their unwanted ungulates.

Rolled out last winter, the $100,000 program live-trapped 80 deer from the Kootenay-region towns of Kimberley, Invermere, Cranbrook and Elkford, and then trucked them to far-flung wilderness areas.
The deer relocation plan was struck in response to massive opposition to the current policy of ensnaring urban deer and then dispatching someone in the morning with a bolt gun to dispatch them.

The Animal Alliance of Canada, has favored dealing with problem deer through anti-feeding bylaws, by distributing deer birth control and “hazing” the animals with dogs. After a lifetime in the carnivore-free rose gardens of Kimberley and Invermere, the animals are likely unprepared for the rigors of avoiding hungry bears, wolves or cougars.

The relocation isn’t intended to clear the Kootenay towns permanently of pesky deer, it is merely a pilot project.

"The lack of opposition in the (council) room today shows this is heading in the right direction,” Paul Denchuk said. “When we first sat as a council any time there was anything to do with the deer, there’d be 50 people in this room, yelling at us.”

Some are watching the plan carefully.