One of Invermere's many urban deer. Pioneer file photo

One of Invermere’s many urban deer. Pioneer file photo

By Joshua Estabrooks

Special to the Pioneer

A recent decision by the provincial government to deny the City of Kimberleys request to explore a hazing program to rid the area of urban deer is spelling disappointment for Kimberley council and deer protection groups province-wide.

This is very disappointing news said Sherry Shrieves-Adams, a Kimberley resident and spokesperson for the BC Deer Protection Coalition. The whole idea of hazing is to change deer behaviour by moving them out of town and making it uncomfortable to stay in town.

It is a viable alternative to culling, she added. The current government downloads the responsibility for managing deer to our community, and then ties our hands when we want to try different approaches.

The response from the province explains that in order to allow hazing activities, parts of the Wildlife Act would have to be amended, and that dogs can only be used in specific circumstances, circumstances that do not apply to urban deer.

The ministry is currently reviewing the possibility of amending the Permit Regulations, said provincial wildlife biologist Irene Teske in her response letter to council. If the Permit Regulations are amended, it would take at least a year to accomplish.

Kimberleys mayor, Ron McRae, echoed the disappointment voiced by the Deer Protection Coalition, and said that his council will be sending a response back to the province requesting them to reconsider as well as meet further to discuss the matter.

Surely there must be some way around those regulations, so lets have some conversation around that, he said.

Locally, Invermere Deer Protection Society spokesperson Devin Kazakoff said that his group, as well as other similar groups throughout the province, will be increasing pressure on both the BC Liberals and the NDP leading up to the election to allow hazing as a viable option.

However, at this time, the Deer Protection Society maintains that there is not an overpopulation of deer within the District of Invermere, so they would prefer that people fence their yards, educate themselves on deer-human interactions and simply learn to live with the deer. Hazing could be acceptable on an incident-specific basis, he added.

Wed like to see it be allowed so if it comes to the point where we do need to haze them out of town then thats an option, he said. We can use hazing on a site-specific incident basis, so if someone has an aggressive deer in their yard, you could have that particular deer hazed.