Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Cranbrook, B.C. to cull urban deer

© By Othmar Vohringer

In a recent report the B.C. government allows the City of Cranbrook in British Columbia to be the first city in this province to cull urban deer. The city of Cranbrook has lately been several times in the news with stories of deer attacking pets and at one point even a newspaper carrier doing his paper delivery rounds.

Chris Zettel, communication officer of the City of Cranbrook said, “People in our community want something done about that problem.”
The provincial government will issue the city a permit to trap and kill up to 25 deer. A contractor will bait deer into a covered trap and then kill them with a bolt gun, similar to those used in abattoirs across Canada. The meat will be offered to First Nations in the area. This “deer management” method is modeled after the one employed in Helena, Montana. The cull is scheduled to start this fall and if successful will become an annual event until all aggressive deer either leave the city or are killed.
This so-called “deer management program” will cost the people of Cranbrook a small fortune. How much money will be spent is not revealed at this point. However, I know from similar such programs in America that they are very expensive.

A much better choice, and one that actually makes money for the city, would be to introduce urban deer hunting. In Illinois, where I used to live for over ten years, controlling urban deer populations was the job of bowhunters. For that, the city permitted a limited number of hunters and a modest hunting license surcharge, to hunt deer in city parks and in people’s backyards by permission of the landowners.

Initial concerns of mortally shot deer running onto roads or near housing have never been recorded. Mortally wounded deer seek thick cover not open spaces like roads and peoples gardens. I killed my biggest whitetail deer buck to date on such an urban deer hunt. I would welcome if towns and cities in B.C. overrun with deer would permit regular hunters to do the job rather then pay “professional experts” big money to rid the city of the surplus deer. This would create a great new hunting opportunity for bowhunters in this province.


TYNI said...

Could not agree more with you OV!! The fact no one on the city's council or advising board brought up the cheaper (and as you pointed out slightly profitable) urban bowhunting idea is just ridiculous!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Urban deer hunting in BC is still a controversial and politically charged thematic. There are always those that are afraid "that hunters could shoot at people." or "What happens if a mortally hit deer runs to a place where people can see it." In addition many bowhunters view urban deer hunting as "unsportsmanlike". Little do they know.

I personally would appreciate if the towns would look at urban deer hunting programs in America to see how well they work rather than consult the usual crop of pessimists and those riding on political agenda bandwagons.


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