A big spaceship is the answer

All our deer cull hopes hinge on the dwindling supply of clover traps

Sometimes when one throws a pebble into a pool of water, it is surprising how far those ripples spread (maybe that’s the wrong metaphor).

Sometimes, when the butterfly flaps its wings, the chain of events it causes will result in a hurricane hundreds of miles away (that’s not quite right either).

Metaphors aside, it appears that the community of Oak Bay, in Victoria, is unable to mount its scheduled deer cull, because of the theft of several so-called clover deer traps in Cranbrook last February. And so finally, the whole “deer management” issue has entered the realm of the surreal.

Townsman/Bulletin readers will recall that the traps were stolen when someone cut through the chain link fence of a Ministry of Environment compound in Cranbrook. Seven of 10 stolen traps were eventually found, but six had been damaged beyond repair. Three were never recovered.

No one was ever charged with that particular act of vandalism. However, as we all know, later that month someone was charged for a similar caper in Kimberley, in which four of five traps were damaged. It doesn’t take a mathematician, as they say, to figure out that you can’t carry out culls with only two traps — one left in Cranbrook, one left in Kimberley.

The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that Oak Bay has sent a letter to to Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, demanding that more clover traps be built, so that the cull can go forward. There was no word, as of press time, that Minister Thomson was rushing without delay to authorize the construction of clover traps.

Oak Bay has apparently spent a lot of money to get to the point where they were ready to conduct their cull.

Up until now, as a province, we have fully committed to conducting our deer culls using clover traps, but we need more than two. And as of press time … (see two paragraphs above).

When it comes to deer culls, it seems we live by the clover trap, and we die by the clover trap — though that’s probably a terribly wrong way to say it (though maybe not from the deer’s perspective).

But things are changing — except for the number of traps in circulation, of which there are two. Penticton called off its clover trap cull — basically just throwing up their hands and giving up. They’re not even going to talk about the deer anymore. It’s like the deer won’t exist. “Urban deer? What are you talking about?”

Invermere is determined to press ahead with its deer cull — good luck with that.

In Cranbrook, a recent city-commissioned survey showed a surprising number of residents in favour of the cull. Well, we have one clover trap left in Cranbrook, right? Maybe we can borrow the one left in Kimberley. So we’ll have two clover traps to conduct our cull. Maybe we can cull two deer.

Yes, we’ve invested all our culling emotions in our clover traps, however many there are (two, at last count, as of press time, etc).

Other suggested avenues have been turned down. Herding the deer out of town with specially trained dogs is not on. There are laws against it. Suggested programs of sterilization so that the deer are rendered infertile are met with near universal mockery. So is the proposed program of taming the deer over several generations so they can be used to carry our golf bags on the fairways. And so on.

The only option left unpondered is mine — that of building a cavernous flying saucer, herding the deer onto it (not using trained dogs, either, but just by us walking towards them, clapping our hands), and flying the urban deer off to one of those new planets they’re always discovering these days.

I urge both Cranbrook and Kimberley City Councils to take steps to conduct feasibility studies on this project without delay. I will also be writing my MLA, to invite him to bring up in the Legislature my strategy for dealing with the “province’s deer.”

Or, failing all this, we can wait around for more clover traps to be built, so we can move ahead with our urban deer management strategy, the only one we have.

Barry Coulter is the Editor of the

Cranbrook Daily Townsman

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