Dear Editor:

We feel privileged to live in beautiful Invermere, Canada, in a nation that values human life. The deer cull set to take place in Invermere is a much larger issue than our plants and gardens! It hinges upon the safety of the human citizens who live within our community.

We were enchanted by the deer when we first moved here from Vancouver eight years ago. We still appreciate their beauty. However, in this time period we have witnessed drastic and concerning behavioral changes in the urban deer.

They now give birth to their fawns in town, teaching their young an unnatural reliance upon the town habitat for food sources. Deer have been seen knocking down garbage cans and digging through them for scraps, different by far from their natural eating behaviors that consist of primarily browsing on woody vegetation and eating relatively little grass.

Years ago, when the deer were here first, there were also cougars and wolves, the natural predators of the mule deer. Cougars and wolves are not welcome within town because they are an organism that lives by preying (hunting and seizing) on other organisms.

Predators threaten human safety and, considering this, are removed. The deer no longer have to deal with their natural enemies and as a result their population has greatly increased and their unnatural aggressiveness has grown alarmingly in accordance with their numbers.

The actions of attacking with the intent to maim and kill in non-threatening, unprovoked situations demonstrated by the urban deer have surpassed those of the predator, which at least have a purpose in their kill.

To those people who have had their pets killed or injured in their own yard or to those who have experienced the examples that follow, you need to speak up and tell your stories!

1) Dogs ON leash being approached or followed aggressively.

2) Deer aggressively advancing on a house cat.

3) Deer grouping and aggressively stalking a blind, unsuspecting dog on its daily bathroom route, cornering and stomping it with intent to kill (the dog survived with some intervention from a source not willing to stand by and watch the unethical treatment the deer were dealing out).

4) Children being threatened and advanced upon by deer on a family walk, while adults are present.

If nothing is done to deal with the aggressive behavior the deer are demonstrating, it is only a matter of time until a child or citizen is injured or killed. It is time for the silent majority to speak!

The provincial government has passed its responsibility of this issue to the District of Invermere and other local governments. Culling the deer population is now a matter of due diligence for our local government; should a citizen, child or otherwise, be injured or killed by a deer, they now bear responsibility.

We applaud the council for making this difficult decision to take measures to protect the citizens of this town.

We feel that the plan in place to cull deer is going to be dealt with in the most humane way possible. The deer will suffer as little as possible better than a natural death by wolf, that is for sure!

We respect and love nature and all that it offers and teaches us. The situation regarding the town deer is one that the District of Invermere MUST resolve, however unpleasant, to ensure the safety of our children and citizens.

I look forward to a family walk in town without feeling threatened.

Jason and Alita Bentley