‘Deer problem’ unsupported by objective data

Letter to the editor on handling Greater Victoria's "exploding deer population"

I carefully examined the deer population trend and deer collision statistics documents attached to the Deer Management terms of reference and posted on the Capital Regional District website. These reports are supposed to support the citizens advisory group in the process of studying the deer issue and providing recommendations to the CRD.

According to the first report, the population of black tailed deer on Vancouver Island is estimated to be in the range of 45,000 to 65,000. This number, especially considering the wide margin of error, is virtually identical to the 2008 estimate.

According to the second report, deer collisions and deer fatalities within the CRD have been up and down over the same period of time, showing no clear trend.

Therefore, both the deer population trend and deer collision statistics reports are inconclusive at best and certainly do not support the general claim of an “exploding deer population” as widely reported in the media.

There have been a few hundred written complaints last August, mostly from Oak Bay residents and mostly regarding cosmetic damage to their gardens.

A few farmers spoke at the CRD meeting last February complaining about increasing numbers of deer on their properties and significant economic losses suffered as a consequence of that. However, to this date to my knowledge, they have been unable to provide any concrete estimates of either one.

In the absence of accurate, reliable and objective data and statistics backing up these claims and complaints, I believe that there is not enough information available to establish the nature and extent of the “deer problem,” if any.

The evidence gathered so far is, in my opinion, purely anecdotal. Based on the data available, I believe that a drastic action particularly involving lethal management is totally unjustified and unnecessary.

Nabhraj Spogliarich