After a Notice of Motion by Kimberley Councillor Darryl Oakley on Monday, June 13, 2022 to educate residents as to who is responsible for urban deer, the City of Kimberley has put out the following information.
“Each year during fawning season, reports of protective and aggressive deer increase. Kimberley City Council is disappointed by the lack of provincial support to control the deer population in town. Urban deer are a Provincial issue and even though municipalities across British Columbia have sought support, the Province has yet to come through in any meaningful way.
In light of this, City Council would like to relay to residents the proper contact information for reports and complaints on this issue.
• To report an aggressive/protective deer, please contact the RAPP line (Report All Poachers and Polluters) by phone at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on Telus Mobility Network. In a non-emergency, you can also report an issue online at https://forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/. The RAPP line directs inquires to Conservation Officers who are responsible for wildlife related public safety.
• You can also contact the Conservation Officer Service directly at 1-250-489-8570
• You may also direct inquiries to the Minister of Forests, who is responsible for urban deer management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Kimberley continues to advocate to the Province for effective solutions related to wildlife in our community. Please direct reports, inquiries and complaints to these contacts.”
In a discussion with the Bulletin, Mayor Don McCormick said that while they continue to try to come up with a strategy for dealing with urban deer, residents also have to protect themselves.
“We need to remind ourselves where we live,” he said. “We are surrounded by forested crown land. We’ve had deer in town forever. It’s not a new issue. We are responsible for our own behaviour as well. Twice a year, in the spring fawning season and the fall rut, we have about a three to four week period where we need to take extra care with outdoor activities.”
McCormick says new residents to town may not be used to human wildlife encounters. He also says that during the pandemic, Kimberley’s dog population has greatly increased.
“Your dog is viewed by deer as a predator. They are threatened by it. I have observed way too many dogs off leash.”
There are three areas of Kimberley where dogs can be off leash; a piece of the Kimberley Nature Park, parts of the Lois Creek Trails and an off leash area in Marysville. Dogs must be on leash anywhere else.
Although last year’s count showed about 100 deer in town, McCormick says its impossible to count them all, as many deer move in and out of town from all the green space around Kimberley. The population is much higher than the count, he said.
McCormick says that the only population control measure that has seen success is translocation, even though there were issues with collared deer wandering into other communities.
“But then the province took translocation from our toolbox because of the fear it would worsen the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
“So our only available option is a trap and bolt cull, which is ineffective. Kimberley and Cranbrook have tried that a number of times without success, due to many factors including resistance and vandalism. There is no tool available to legally remove deer.”
The city has done what it can with education, raising allowable fence heights, the no feeding bylaw and more, he says, but with does having two or three fawns per season, those actions aren’t enough.