Bye-bye Bambi

Oak Bay council catches deer in its headlights

Christopher Sun

News staff

Oak Bay will spend $12,500 to trap and kill 25 deer, which will then be butchered for meat.

On Tuesday, council voted to confirm Oak Bay’s participation in the Capital Regional Districts’s deer management pilot project, outlined in a 51-page report from August.

Oak Bay is the first municipality in the CRD to formally join the urban part of the program. View Royal has expressed interest and Esquimalt said it will join if three-quarters of member municipalities also join. Central Saanich has already signed on to the rural version of the pilot project.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said something needs to be done as the number of deer deaths has increased from zero in Oak Bay six years ago to 33 so far this year. Last year, 23 were killed, usually after being struck by a vehicle.

“The number of deer killed on roads and in backyards is increasing and those deaths are inhumane and we can’t let that continue,” Jensen said. “In a number of occasions the deer have been so badly injured by car or by hopping a fence and not making it that the police needed to come and put the deer down, which is not humane.”

Jensen noted the Songhees First Nation’s involvement is an important aspect to the cull. They will take the meat, along with antlers and hooves for ceremonial purposes.

Coun. Carine Green was the lone councillor voting against the motion. Three options were presented to council. Option one was to not participate in the CRD pilot project. Option two, which council passed, has Oak Bay participating in the project in accordance to the terms of reference in the report. Option three was the same as option two, but with a caveat that participation is “subject to any additional requests or conditions that council may ask the CRD to consider.”

Green wanted option three.

“I just felt it would allow more flexibility, allow Oak Bay greater ongoing input,” Green said, adding she wanted that flexibility in writing. “I think it would add a bit more strength for local input and local influence.”

CRD project manager for deer management Jeff Weightman assured council that even though option two doesn’t explicitly indicate it, they are willing to take input and make changes throughout the pilot project, which runs until January 2015.

In B.C.’s interior, Kimberly and Cranbrook have each been given permission from the province to cull 25 deer. In a non-binding referendum held Nov. 2, the town of Invermere voted in favour of a deer cull.

“That number is what we anticipate because a precedent was set in other places in B.C.,” Weightman said. “Typically the number to begin with is 25.”

After the first cull, deer activity will be monitored and results will dictate if there will be more.”

Council also discussed other options that did not involve a cull, such relocating the animals, but Weightman said that is not a viable option.

“Deer don’t travel well. There is a 50 to 60 per cent fatality rate,” Weightman said, adding provincial permits would be needed and applications by others have been rejected. “Deer are fight or flight animals. They will have a heart attack or break their neck from thrashing.”

Jensen explained he had been in talks with researchers wanting to explore using SpayVac, a contraceptive vaccine, but stumbling blocks include lack of funding and the need for both provincial and federal approval. He indicated the vaccine would be a more long-term solution.

The CRD will now apply for the necessary permits and hire a contractor to do the cull. Once that is in place, the cull could start immediately.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read