Re: Deer contraception program underway (Sept. 11). I’m encouraged to read that Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch intends to meet with provincial officials next month to explore direction and options regarding the local deer contraception program.
There is a very good reason that engaging the province is absolutely the right thing to do – and that is because the province is fully and completely responsible for managing deer populations in B.C. If the politically charged issue of local deer management has demonstrated anything over the past years, it is that municipalities treading into areas where they have no jurisdiction do so at their peril. I suspect that B.C. wildlife officials are happy that municipal taxpayers’ dollars and staff resources have been offered up to support the province’s exclusive deer management authority.
Why do our recently counted 78 to 123 black tail deer like living and grazing in Oak Bay? Because it provides rich deer habitat. What would happen if we eliminated or sterilized this entire population? Another cohort of deer from another region would migrate into our rich deer habitat to take their place – a variant on “passing the buck” so to speak. Provincial authority – much like our roving regional deer population – knows no such boundaries. While municipal cooperation on this issue is welcome, it should focus primarily on pressing the Province to act within its established authority to manage deer populations and not in freelancing wildlife management experiments that fall outside of municipal responsibilities.