Editorial: Oh deer, what to do?

The decision to split this week's deer story into two parts and carry it over to next week's edition of The Valley Echo was a difficult one.

The decision to split this week’s deer story into two parts and carry it over to next week’s edition of The Valley Echo was a difficult one, for fear that too much attention will be focused on the problem and not enough on the solutions.

Clearly, this week’s half of the story is devoted to the problem — a part-time Invermere resident is terrified because of aggressive deer on her property. Her dogs are most likely the trigger for their behaviour but no one has told her this. A conservation officer faults her for not reporting the incidents soon enough. Meanwhile, the “to cull or not to cull the deer” debate in the District of Invermere has not abated one bit.

Next week, if they follow the story, readers will learn what solutions the Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) is working on for local deer control as well as where the District of Invermere stands given the new research and information available.

But it is important to convey that deer aggression does in fact happen, and that it’s something to be wary of during the summer months when fawns are just weeks old and the does will aggressively attack anything they consider a threat to their young ones. And drawing attention to one woman’s experiences hopefully will help do that.

As DOI mayor Gerry Taft points out in next week’s half of the story, part of the populace simply does not believe deer can be aggressive and generally the people who believe it’s possible are those who have seen or experienced it firsthand. When conveying the woman’s experiences to IDPS president Devin  Kazakoff for comment, his response was exactly this: “Personally I’ve never been threatened by a deer, ever,” he said. “When I hear these stories I feel they’re quite exaggerated.”

What stood out during the interviews is that all parties involved sympathize with the plight of the deer. These are not animals born in the wild that have grown accustomed to humans. No, these are generation after generation of deer born and bred in a human environment. Accepting that these animals are unpredictable and sometimes dangerous doesn’t mean a green light for deer culling, but could help identify some realistic solutions, and so could accepting responsibility for the deer’s predicament in the first place.