Deer continue to spring up throughout Penticton
Paul Quevillon has had enough.
A parade of deer has been feasting in the yard of the mobile home owned by the retired police officer and his wife. Over the past six years, he said, it has been costing him about $1,000 a year, and the problem is getting worse.
Last week, Quevillon sent an open letter addressed to everyone he could think of regarding the problems he and his neighbours in the Yorkton Avenue mobile home park have in dealing with the annual migration of deer through their yards.
At the time he was writing the letter, he said there were a dozen of the animals wandering through the yards. But since then, there have been even more.
“The day after I submitted it, there were 18 deer in the yard,” said Quevillon, adding that he regularly sees anywhere from six to 10 deer. “It’s like they own the place.”
Along with the damage to his and neighbours’ property, Quevillon is afraid someone may get hurt as the deer are becoming more aggressive.
“I have been challenged twice in my yard this last week,” he said. “If you try to chase them away, they just turn around and walk towards you. You wave and shake a stick at them or something else and if you take a step toward them, they take a step toward you or they hold their stance.”
Chasing them off doesn’t do much, according to Quevillon, who explained that the deer simply move on to a neighbouring yard.
“So they are eating everything we’ve got,” he said. “Right now, they’re eating everything. We still have green plants in the back and we have our cedars. They eat them like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve had to replace seven five-foot cedars three times now in the last seven years. I am not doing it anymore.”
The City of Penticton has asked residents to remove as many food sources as possible for the deer from their yards to help prevent attracting the deer as they descend from snowbound higher elevations.
“This is the time of year that non-resident mule deer travel in search of food, which is why some residents might be seeing more animals in the urban environment,” said Mayor Dan Ashton, in a release.
But Quevillon said that isn’t much of a solution.
“What am I going to do, pull up all the cedars? We’re not feeding the things,” he said.
And with so much snacking going on, Quevillon said the deer are leaving more behind than stripped cedar trees. His wife, he said, raked up some 40 pounds of deer droppings last year while cleaning the yard.
“I can’t walk on the lawn here. To me it could be a health hazard too, I don’t know,” said Quevillon. “Either they be removed or culled, period. By whatever means is necessary.”
While they haven’t yet reached the stage of culling deer, Penticton has been implementing strategies in the past year in an attempt to manage the deer, like adopting a bylaw prohibiting the active feeding of deer. They’ve also completed two deer counts, working under the guidance of provincial government biologists.
Both counts, however, showed relatively low numbers of deer, though the counts are expected to continue to establish a baseline for future management strategies. But the question of a cull is on hold awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit in another community.
“The City of Penticton has been forced into a holding pattern until the legal case in Invermere is resolved and the courts provide direction on the requirements for managing urban deer populations,” said Ashton. “The Invermere case will set precedence for municipalities like us on how the urban deer issue can be addressed.”