Deer removal no easy task for Oak Bay

Continued delay in conducting a cull will clearly exacerbate an accelerating problem.

While discussing the deer issue at a June 24 council meeting, an Oak Bay councillor suggested that Oak Bay is constantly preserving single family neighbourhoods and open space and this is why developers have to encroach on regional deer habitat to build, and, therefore the deer are forced to move into areas like Oak Bay.

It is obvious to most residents that the great majority of our increasing deer population, year to year, has little to do with developers moving into (rural) deer habitat and everything to do with the fact that the resident deer population in Oak Bay and adjacent areas such as Ten Mile Point are breeding.

Female deer generally have one to three fawns every year and while the population may have been small enough many years ago to remain relatively unobtrusive while foraging in the well-treed/brush areas of Oak Bay and Ten Mile Point, this has become increasingly less possible in recent years. To make things worse, there has been an erosion of these more natural brush areas as more lots are developed and subdivided.  The combined result is all too obvious.

Continued delay in conducting a cull will clearly exacerbate an accelerating problem. Can we wait for bureaucrats to try to find ways to obtain approval for a sterilization drug (that may only be up to 90 per cent effective), field it, and then wait for several more years to see evidence of an overall population decrease due to a decreased birth rate, natural causes and continuing vehicle predation? The practical answer would seem to be no.

Finally, it seems to have escaped the attention of the Capital Regional District and others that there may well have to be two different types of cull. Federal regulations reportedly prevent the meat of a tranquilized animal from being used for human consumption and it is a given that the trapping and bolt gun technique is indeed barbaric if conducted in public spaces.

Therefore, while some form of a harvest for consumption may be feasible in rural areas, those planning an urban cull should drop that thought.  Urban deer should simply be tranquilized and removed discretely.

Dennis McCarthy

Oak Bay