By Dan Walton
A grisly deer mauling on private property has reinforced one Invermere property owners support for a cull.
In his home on Fort Point, Frank Jones awoke on Sunday, January 4th to find a bloody mule deer carcass on his lawn. His neighbours, whose window was closer to the area where the attack took place, reported hearing activity around 4 a.m. The identity of the predatory animal was not confirmed; however, only one set of tracks was noticed and Mr. Jones said the paws seemed fairly large.
Mr. Jones contacted the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline, but received the automated operator, so he then called the District of Invermeres emergency hours phone line, and within twenty minutes they were here, he said.
The district employee cleaned up the site perfectly, said Mr. Jones, but he was disappointed theres been no public follow up to the incident.
If a predator takes down an animal in Banff, they put up warnings, he said.
Frank and his wife Ann made the effort to tell their neighbours, but only those within a very short radius, he said.
Banff, since its located inside of a National Park, may have different methods of dealing with wildlife, said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, adding the District of Invermere has not considered a similar alert system. BC Conservation has an office in Invermere, he said, and theyre equipped to deal with predatory incidents.
But on Wednesday, January 8th, Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger said his office was never informed of the event. He said he receives all the reports made through the RAPP hotline, and while its common for district staff to pass similar information along, that wasnt the case this time. The evidence of the attack had been removed before Mr. Kruger had a chance to investigate, but in response to the suggestion that a cougar was the culprit, the conservation officer was sceptical.
If there are cougars, we would definitely encourage the public to let us know, but we havent had any reports to indicate recent cougar activity in Invermere, he said.
Nonetheless, a confirmed cougar attack would be grounds to educate the neighbourhood on the nature of the attack and future precautions would be discussed, he said.
The Jones have been living in their Fort Point home for 15 years, and last weeks attack was the first sign of predatory behaviour theyve noticed.
When we first moved here, seeing a deer was a rarity, Mr. Jones said. We had a beautiful yard full of bushes, shrubs, and flowers. We no longer have any of those the deer have absolutely destroyed our yard.
Aside from his propertys aesthetics, the influx of deer have also attracted the problem demonstrated on their lawn, he said.
Weve been warned for years that if we keep a resident herd of deer in town, that predators will move in. And they have we have evidence.
But according to the Invermere Deer Protection Society, predatory attacks dont happen because there are too many deer.
If you remove the deer, youre going to have more of those migrating predators coming into town, president Devin Kazakoff said. We dont agree with intervening with the population until wildlife biologists are involved and studies have been done to find out their actual migratory paths.
To report any incidents, the public is encouraged to call the local conservation office at 250-342-4266, or the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.