Carrying out a successful deer cull seems about as likely as the Calgary Flames winning a Stanley Cup these days.
With the District of Elkford recently having been shut down thanks to an inappropriate action taken by their cull contractor, and traffic accidents in Oak Bay claiming nearly 40 deer in 2013, ahead of their planned cull this year, it seems trimming deer herds humanely is a tall order in this province.
The clover traps now in use (or at least, ready for use) in Elkford are scheduled to head to Kimberley next, where a 30-deer cull is planned this year. With the legal avenues for anti-cull advocates all but exhausted, maybe they’ll have better luck than Invermere in carrying out an incident-free cull.
It’s worth remembering that deer have never been this populous before, not only in the Columbia Valley, but across North America. According to a Time magazine article last December, deer alone have seen an 800 per cent increase in populations across the U.S. since the mid-1900s.
Local mule deer populations in the valley may not be increasing that quickly, but are undoubtedly on the rise. And while recent mild winters may have helped the deer flourish, many face a cruel death by starvation while stuck in deep snow once a cold and snowy winter arrives.
Of course, not everyone wants to see humans act as agents for deer population correction. But most agree it’s foolish to actually feed the deer. Amazingly, one reader observed deer munching on a hay bale dropped off in Pothole Park on Friday night, ostensibly by someone looking to help sustain their furry friends.
Culling isn’t the only answer to deer populations in the long run. But it’s disingenous to pretend deer are being saved by not carrying out a cull. While I have little sympathy for those who want to see deer die for eating their flowers, it’s time to get reasonable on finding long-term solutions for the urban animals.