Deer hazing trial a success: What next?

Up to the province whether or not to allow further aversive conditioning on urban deer populations.

  • May. 31, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Bob the Border Collie approaches deer up by the old dump site near Marysville during an aversive conditioning exercise

Bob the Border Collie approaches deer up by the old dump site near Marysville during an aversive conditioning exercise

CAROLYN GRANT/Daily Bulletin

The City of Kimberley and the Urban Deer Committee believe that they have successfully demonstrated that  using dogs to haze deer and train them to stay out of town is a viable tool in an urban deer management plan. The question is, what happens now?

That’s up to the provincial government, says Mayor Ron McRae.

“I think we’ve demonstrated that it has good possibilities,” he said. “Obviously, it is yet to be seen whether the government will act. But the fact that they did grant the demo — that gives some indication that they may look at shifting some legislation to allow for other possibilities. I just don’t think people will tolerate the use of a cull as a deer management tool.”

It’s not just Kimberley seeking other ways to manage urban deer. Cranbrook has recently put forward a resolution which says that current regulations don’t address human-wildlife conflicts in urban areas and lacks the flexibility needed to develop new approaches.

McRae says he fully expects to hear from other communities now that a trial hazing has taken place.

“We had a videographer film the trial and he will do up a package, which we will distribute to any municipality that would like to see it. We also have to do a report for the government and we would share that as well.

“We do want to share all the good work that has been done in Kimberley by the Deer Committee. Kimberley has invested significant resources in this. It’s important to share that with anyone who is interested.”

If aversive conditioning is allowed by a legislation change, it wouldn’t begin until next spring, leaving plenty of time for the provincial government to act. McRae said that now that the election is over, government will one again turn it’s attention to issues like this.

“Everything stands down for the election, but now it’s back to business.”

An aversive conditioning program wouldn’t be inexpensive.

“If we were to employ a technique like hazing, you would need a four to five week period in a specific area to condition deer that they are better off out of town. You’d be looking at roughly $300 to $350 per day if not more, for the use of the dogs. Having said that, for me I feel the money would be well spent. None of us want to remove deer by culling. Right now though, it’s the only mechanism available.”