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Deer protection groups opt for united front

Sep 22 2012

Deer protection organizations from across B.C. are coming together in an effort to pool their knowledge and persuade their municipal councils to look at nonlethal options to control deer.

"We have been talking about a coalition for a couple of weeks," Kelly Carson of DeerSafe Victoria said. "Little grassroots organizations are popping up and a coalition can stop everyone from reinventing the wheel."

Communities across B.C. are facing the same problems and municipalities are relying on the same material and reports, Carson said.

"The grassroots groups have the passion and the compassion to really do the research even though [municipal governments] tend to ignore us," she said.

"We feel a coalition would give us more clout."

Devin Kazakoff, of the Invermere Deer Protection Society, will speak this weekend in Victoria at the first meeting of the B.C. Deer Protection Coalition.

The Invermere group has filed a lawsuit against their town council that is expected to go to court early next year.

In Greater Victoria, where the Capital Regional District has been grappling with the deer question, directors have received an exhaustive report on deer management from a citizen's advisory group with suggestions ranging from hiring sharpshooters to easing rules on fence heights.

CRD staff are now looking at which recommendations are practical before the province is asked for help.

"It's a hot potato because the province has to come forward with what they are willing to fund and then it will fall back on individual municipalities," she said.

Some of the pressure for a cull has come from Saanich Peninsula farmers, who already have the right to shoot five deer per year to protect crops, Carson said about her group's efforts to oppose a regional cull.

"It's a vocal few that are causing these problems."

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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