Oak Bay needs to deal with deer

Once, deer were common in Oak Bay. It was also common for them to be killed by humans for food and shelter from the elements

The only aspect of the Living with Deer booklet that I can respect is the dedication of four people. The three people named on the book and the lady that delivered it. (There may be a few more) The rest of it makes me disgusted.

First of all, it tries to make me think they are the only people on the Island that know anything about deer and that if I don’t agree with them, I somehow don’t understand.

I read the missive all the way through and found much of it misleading.

Once, deer were common in Oak Bay. It was also common for them to be killed by humans for food and shelter from the elements. That part of the equation has been removed.

When I moved here 15 years ago there was no sign of deer in the area I live. I agree that just because I didn’t see any, doesn’t mean they weren’t here, but I didn’t have garden damage from them either, and the fact that I do now is a sure sign of their presence.

I used to live in a rural area. Because of the location, I understood that I was living in the deer’s place. I accepted the fact that they ate my garden.

I was also able to accept the occasional cougar sighting, because that is the way of nature. If I wanted a successful garden I had to spend a considerable amount of money to build a fence they couldn’t jump or push over. When you consider the garden was intended to save money and would take several seasons of produce to actually pay for it, the work and effort started to look kind of silly.

In a lot of ways deer are like other urban pests. If you see one, you know you have 10. There is one young buck visiting my street regularly and during the rut, I saw three at a time.

The authors of the pamphlet said they couldn’t find any deer to photograph. My response is that they either didn’t want to see them or they didn’t know enough to look for them at the right time of day. A recent 10-minute drive presented me with five in one group and two more a block away.

The argument that removing 25 won’t accomplish anything is misleading as well. Yes, they will be replaced by migrants and new fawns, however a dead deer has no descendants. Live deer will continue to produce a pair of fawns yearly, so one live deer today can be two or three in a year and so on. The reported yearly increase in fatalities demonstrates that fact clearly.

The statement about deer being low carriers of Lyme disease is also misleading. It is well established that Lyme-carrying ticks are present on Vancouver Island.

I don’t believe deer belong in an urban setting any more than cougars and wolves. There are enough road hazards for me to look for without deer making unexpected moves near my car. A big reason we can’t coexist is because wildlife refuse to follow human rules.

Ed Walker

Oak Bay


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