Members of DeerSafe, a new citizen’s group promoting a non-cull approach to the Capital Region’s deer overpopulation, have a challenge on their hands.
The group hopes to have a seat at the table when the Capital Regional District takes its next steps in dealing with the issue.
The key to convincing the CRD board of its value in the discussion is to not come off sounding like members of PETA, the radical animal rights activist group whose supporters have worn lettuce outside Kentucky Fried Chicken and posed nude for anti-fur posters.
So far, DeerSafe has offered a rational approach to its call for humane solutions to be found.
While it may not have used PETA-style tactics to make its point, DeerSafe has become wrapped up in the mounting hysteria over the potential for the CRD to utilize such tools as a Clover trap – a cage that corrals the deer in a small space – and bolt guns, used to concuss cows and other meat animals before slaughter.
The idea of cages being set up in urban neighbourhoods is something the CRD would have to think long and hard about. As for operating bolt guns in those same areas? Many residents couldn’t even stomach the thought of rabbits being collected and shipped off from the University of Victoria. Traumatizing people is not in the cards here.
If deer, like rabbits, were as uncuddly as rats, mice or other species generally considered vermin, the conversation about a humane solution wouldn’t be happening.
Deer continue to live and propagate in our urban neighbourhoods because, like humans, they’ve found a veritable Shangra-La, offering a cornucopia of edible delights.
Interrupt that food source with fencing and enact no-feeding bylaws and the deer should move on, DeerSafe says. We suspect the animals may be too entrenched for such a strategy to achieve significant results.
Therein lies the real challenge for DeerSafe as it attempts to keep this a non-cull situation.