Thankfully, it turns out the unfriendly fire that was the topic of last week’s Valley Echo editorial was a lot friendlier than what we were initially led to believe. While neither the Invermere Conservation Officer Service nor the Columbia Valley RCMP detachment had any files about the November 19 shooting on record by last week’s press time, it has since been confirmed the deer was shot by an RCMP member with South East Traffic Services, who put the deer down after it was wounded in a vehicle accident. We’re grateful this incident is not yet another example of the blatant poaching that was taking place within district boundaries several weeks prior, whereby four deer of varying ages and sizes were killed as a result of either bullets or arrows.
When reporting on those poaching incidents in our October 17 issue, the Valley Echo learned District of Invermere mayor Gerry Taft suspected they were linked to disgruntled residents who were “taking matters into their own hands” when it came to managing Invermere’s urban deer situation because nothing was being done at the community level.
As winter approaches, it seems more and more deer appear on our streets every day. There are those that graze alone, and those that move in a large herd through neighbourhoods, sometimes numbering up to six or eight. Some of the deer appear non-threatening, gentle even, while others stand in threatening stances, staring menacingly at passers-by. Throw a dog into the mix and kiss the Bambi myth goodbye. Even a leashed canine can inspire aggressive behaviour — just talk to any dog owner in town.
The Invermere Deer Protection Society advocates leaving these animals be, and controlling their numbers via contraception. However, if the number of mule deer is on the decline, as Sue Saunders points out in her letter to the editor, and conservation efforts are required, how does contraception work within this paradigm, or conversely, the indiscriminate nature of Clover traps and bolt guns?
Yet giving the local deer population more rights than our domesticated pets is clearly not working.
It’s currently open season on the four-point bucks (as in antlers) wandering through town. How far a cry is it to bring in a highly trained RCMP sniper to corner and hunt them according to the curent hunting regulations, then tag and truck the rest to a wildlife conservancy area for monitoring?