Okanagan orchardists have expanded their support for a deer cull to also include coyotes and bears.
The resolution directed at the provincial government was adopted at the B.C. Fruit Growers Association meeting in Kelowna Thursday.
The initial focus on deer relates to the damage they cause to fruit trees and farm vehicles that collide with them, coupled with the cost of deer fencing which is expensive with no available provincial grant support, said the BCFGA.
In debating the resolution, an orchardist voiced his concerns also about coyotes, saying the predators are being drawn into fruit farms by the deer.
“Coyotes cause a lot of damage to irrigation lines by chewing through them,” said the orchardist.
“A deer cull won’t solve the coyote problem because they also feed on farm cats.”
Another fruit grower in Southeast Kelowna noted that deer disappeared from her area for nearly a decade after the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire, but coyotes continued to plague their farm causing water irrigation line damage during that time period.
Last year, a petition was presented with more than 1,000 signatures to Kelowna council by Upper Mission residents calling for a deer cull.
The residents were upset by the deer destroying people’s gardens and threatening their animals.
“Before you know you it, you have no bush left, it’s a bunch of sticks,” said petition organizer Ken Walker.
There was some discussion about changing the resolution from focusing on deer to wildlife in general, but BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas suggested that was too encompassing.
“I don’t think that is the image you want to present to the public,” Lucas said.
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