Nova Scotia farmers who are fed up with deer eating their crops say they want the province to help them find a solution.
Jim Burrows, the owner of Clover Crest Farm in Green Oaks, said deer eating his crops is not a new phenomenon at his Colchester County farm. But the problem has been getting worse over the last 15 years, he said.
"It's just perfect deer salad," Burrows said of his soybean crop.
"We expect we're losing anywhere between 20 and 40 per cent of our crop."
Farmers can get a permit to shoot nuisance deer. Burrows said not only is it difficult to get a permit, any deer meat must be processed — on the farmer's dime — and donated to Feed Nova Scotia.
"The problem is the deer is a nice, cuddly, friendly looking animal that everyone loves and it's very difficult to have public support to deal with the problem," he said.
"I think there should be an opportunity for special permits for people to come in and deal with nuisance situations through the summer."
Burrows said in addition to thinning the herd, a deer cull may make the animals nervous about being near human habitats and convince them to go back to the woods.
Henry Vissers, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, is asking the province to step in and pay for research into noise deterrents and fencing. In the meantime, the federation is asking the province to make it easier for farmers to shoot nuisance deer.
"There's some work by the biologist to determine whether or not they believe that issuing a permit is warranted, so it can be a bit of a process for people," said Vissers.
The Department of Natural Resources said it is looking into options for research and potentially allowing hunters to kill more deer within the hunting season.