Anti deer cull groups unite under B.C.-wide banner

A Cranbrook group has united with similar groups in other B.C. communities to stand against lethal methods of deer control.

The Humane Treatment of Urban Wildlife said people need to understand that allowing deer to eat apples in city yards results in them being killed.

A Cranbrook group opposed to the urban deer cull has united with similar groups in other B.C. communities to stand against lethal methods of deer control.

Based in Cranbrook, the grassroots group Humane Treatment of Urban Wildlife (HTUW) formed in January 2012, but last month it united with three like-minded groups to form the British Columbia Deer Protection Coalition.

HTUW, DeerSafe Victoria, the Invermere Deer Protection Society and Animal Alliance of Canada have come together to educate the public about non-lethal methods of deer management, said Colleen Bailey, chair of HTUW.

“We know this is a huge issue in many communities, so rather than trying to piecemeal each community with education and information, we decided to conglomerate our efforts so we would have more resources at our disposal,” said Bailey.

“We want to be a resource, not only for individuals and private citizens but for municipalities and elected officials to be able to access some ideas.”

Last November, Cranbrook culled 25 urban deer – 11 white-tail and 14 mule – using clover traps.

It was the first of three East Kootenay communities to carry out a cull with a license from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Now, the coalition is working with wildlife biologists to collate research on deer management methods, she went on.

“What we try to do is remove the emotion out of the topic. This is such a highly volatile situation for all of our communities. We don’t want to divide the communities; we want to unite the communities.

“We have been accused of being the emotional ones and coming from an emotional perspective, but in reality we are coming from science. It’s the people going, ‘Somebody’s going to get killed,’ that are coming from an emotional base. We are saying let’s do something to prevent that through scientific research, education and understanding.”

In the coalition’s view, culling is not effective because last year’s deer cull in Cranbrook did not reduce the overall numbers of urban deer in town.

“The Coalition doesn’t see the purpose in spending tax dollars on something we know will have to be a continual effort to maintain the numbers. Culling isn’t a one-time option if they choose that method so taxpayers can count on having their tax dollars spent on this lethal method every year,” said Bailey.

Indiscriminate culling does not help with public safety, according to Bailey, because it does not target problem deer.

“The deer are not euthanized. It is a completely different term and it’s misrepresenting to the public what they are doing. People think they are being put to sleep like they are pets. We need to call it what it is and say the deer are being killed,” said Bailey.

“Given that it’s not effective in improving public safety, it doesn’t seem right.”

The coalition would rather non-lethal methods are used to reduce urban deer conflict. She mentioned “hazing” or “averse conditioning” where herding dogs are used to direct deer out of problematic areas such as schools. But she said that education and policy are the most important steps. For instance, homes on the edge of town could be prohibited from planting cedar trees. And urban residents need to have respect for deer, Bailey said.

“We want to make sure people understand deer behaviour. We don’t want people to think, they want to be our friend, or they are out to get us. We want them to go, okay, they are a wild animal, they need to be respected as such. Keep your distance, pick up your fruit, if you must plant a cedar tree wrap it in wire.”

Cranbrook residents need to learn to live with deer, she went on.

“The public thinks that if they do a deer cull, the deer will be gone. We live in a Rocky Mountain community – there will always be deer. We need to learn to coexist with them,” said Bailey.

HTUW is pleased that the City of Cranbrook is delaying its second cull until a lawsuit between the District of Invermere and the Invermere Deer Protection Societ is resolved.

“The coalition is extremely pleased because it is going to give us time to work with them on other solutions if they are willing to work with the coalition,” said Bailey, who is also a citizen member of the Cranbrook Urban Deer Committee consulting the City on the deer cull.

Bailey was unable to provide precise membership numbers for HTUW before press time.

Just Posted

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

Ice trade for overage forward

Kootenay sends a conditional 6th round pick to Brandon in exchange for Gunnar Wegleitner

Council provides update on indoor sports facility

Mayor Pratt says the city has provided a letter of intent to facility organizer.

Harley Owners Group makes donations to several organizations

The Kootenay Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) dispersed the proceeds… Continue reading

Cranbrook Dodge helps Las ChaChas roll through their summer tour

Cranbrook Dodge, presented a 2005 Dodge Caravan to Las ChaChas, an exciting band from Sayulita, Mexico, for their use from July 18 through Sept. 8.

WATCH: The Week in Review: July 20

WATCH: READ MORE: Grassfire destroys home One home was lost in a… Continue reading

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

ZONE 1: Hannah Tracey looks to mom as role model while at BC Games

‘She has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself,’ Tracey said at BC Summer Games in Cowichan

Most Read