Councillor itching to pull the trigger on deer plan

Coun. Mike Pearce doesn’t want ideas on how to control Penticton’s deer population to get bogged down in bureaucracy, he wants action now.

Coun. Mike Pearce doesn’t want ideas on how to control Penticton’s deer population to get bogged down in bureaucracy, he wants action now.

“Before someone gets injured severely. There is too many of these animals around now. I am not an anti-deer person despite what is sounds like. I am for safety of individuals and that is our responsibility. I encourage staff to get working on a management plan and have it back before us in the next two weeks,” said Pearce.

On July 18 Pearce made a notice of motion that the City of Penticton take immediate action to reduce the population of deer in the city before somebody gets injured, or a car hits one and the person in the car is injured or killed. City staff came back at Tuesday’s council meeting with a recommendation that an Urban Deer Management Committee be struck to provide recommendations to council regarding options for controlling the deer population in Penticton.

“That’s not my idea. That is staff’s idea and I don’t think staff, with respect, is right. I don’t want it delayed, I want us to take action. So go get the guys with the guns, or the bows and arrows or whatever we’ve got to be doing and let’s do this take out properly,” said Pearce.

Council unanimously agreed that the bylaw department needs to investigate what other municipalities are doing for a deer management plan and find out what has worked and what hasn’t. Grand Forks, Cranbrook and Kimberley have all done studies and have deer management plans in place.

Oliver and Princeton have also been discussing the issue with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. The ministry does not relocate deer, however, they do loan out live traps.

Municipalities are then responsible for the contractor and relocation costs. A permit must be obtained before a trap is loaned which requires steps to occur prior to issuance, similar to that of applying for a cull permit for geese.

While the issue of aggressive deer has resulted in a number of letters asking for a solution from the city, Councillors Andrew Jakubeit and Garry Litke said they both have had encounters. Jakubeit said his wife was out running when a deer charged her and her dog, coming within 15 feet of her.

“It is a serious problem and it has really come to light this year. I am for doing something as well, I just don’t know what that solution is. I don’t want to see it hindered in bureaucracy and committee,” said Jakubeit.

Litke also has come across an aggressive deer that chased his dog. When the dog retreated behind him, Litke said he thought it was safe to approach the deer, but it didn’t back down and started kicking up its legs at the councillor. Litke said he also believes something needs to be done to reduce the deer population.

“There is a symbiotic relationship between prey and predator and what has happened here is the predators have disappeared. There are no longer any predators and the deer are proliferating in an uncontrolled manner, overgrazing their natural grazing areas so when the natural grazing area runs out of food they get into our lush gardens, that is what animals do,” said Litke.

“It is becoming dangerous. There has to be something done and it looks like we are now being cast in the role as predator.”