A Thunder Bay man says poachers are killing deer on Mission Island and believes the herd is in trouble as a result.

Robert McCallum said just three years ago, he fed up to 80 deer daily at his home on Mission Island.

Robert McCallum

Robert McCallum says the number of deer coming to eat in his backyard on Mission Island has plummeted — and he thinks poaching is to blame. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

The man known as Thunder Bay’s “Deer Whisperer” said he continues to feed the animals, despite a city ban on the activity. But McCallum said the number of deer coming to eat in his backyard has plummeted.

“Two years ago there were 17 big bucks, and I'd say 65 deer,” he said.

“Last year, there were only three big bucks and maybe 40 deer. This year there is one big buck, and maybe 25 deer. That is it.”

McCallum said cold weather last winter may have been a factor, but he believes the real problem is poaching.

“I have found [deer with] arrows in them … The year before, I found five or six [deer] with arrows in them.”

McCallum said he often sees vehicles parked near his home at night with their lights off.

He'd like to see police step up patrols on Mission Island before all the deer are gone.

“It would be really nice if there was more police enforcement at night,” he said. “[If there is] a suspicious vehicle, just check them out … if they are poaching they have got to have weapons in their vehicle."

Despite the city of Thunder Bay's urban deer hunt, no hunting of any kind is allowed on Mission Island.

CBC News contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Thunder Bay police about this story, but no one was available Monday for an interview.