Letter: Hunters are helping deal with deer population

Kelowna letter-writer says a deer cull is not the answer to the increase in deer population

To the editor:

In response to Frank Bechard’s letter dated Nov. 22, 2017, I appreciate that he is becoming frustrated with the significant population of mule deer coming into interface areas and eating his vegetation. Unfortunately, some of the points used to back up his argument for a deer cull are erroneous.

I have lived in the Upper Mission since 1986 and regularly hiked and recreated in the areas ranging from Priest Creek to the old Chute Lake Forest Service Road area prior to the 2003 wildfire. Quite often, I saw herds of mule and white tail deer ranging in these areas. I don’t dispute the fact that extra food created from the fire, lack of natural predators and milder winters has positively impacted the ungulate population. Nevertheless, he has omitted the fact that man has become the primary predator of deer.

In 2014, while part of a multi-government agency working group dealing with urban deer conflict, I advocated for a change in the Limited Entry Hunting program to implement a new wildlife management unit. I suggested this Management Unit have identified interface zones where urban deer conflict was prevalent. In 2017, the BC Wildlife Branch created Management Unit 8-09 with three identified interface zones, each under the 700 metre elevation mark.

These three zones combined allow for the harvest of 90 mule does (female deer) by resident hunters granted a LEH for a specified zone. This year, my uncle was granted a LEH permit for a mule doe which we then harvested near Gillard Forest Service Road in October. The wild meat, which is free of growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics typically found in domestically grown meat, now feeds my family.

I respectfully ask Mr. Bechard and other frustrated Upper Mission residents to be patient as the hunters of the Okanagan Valley work hard keep the deer population in check. In the meantime, I suggest you plant deer resistant crops and flowers or build some fencing to protect your precious gardens.

Kevin Hamilton, Kelowna

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