British Columbia

Kootenay deer cull faces international opposition

Opposition is growing to a large-scale deer cull in B.C.'s East Kootenay. Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere have committed to kill as many as 225 urban deer that have become a danger and nuisance to the municipalities.
Deer have become a nuisance in the East Kootenay, attacking pets and even people. But opposition is growing to region's plan to cull up to 225 urban deer by the end of 2012. (CBC)

Opposition is growing to a large-scale deer cull in B.C.'s East Kootenay.

Three communities have committed to eliminating as many as 225 urban deer; Cranbrook has finished, Kimberley is in the midst of its cull, and Invermere is next on the list.

But Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft says opposition the deer kill is growing, as is the number of nasty letters he's receiving at City Hall.

"Most of them are coming from out of the community and region — from as far as Europe. Then there are local groups that are forming and local opposition as well."

One of those local opposition groups is a new organization called the Humane Treatment of Urban Wildlife.

Led by Colleen Bailey of Cranbrook, the group hopes to halt the cull before it reaches Invermere.

Bailey admits her group started late and is playing catchup, but she says the deer cull is hard on people as well as the animals.

"The method being employed is inhumane. It is also stressful to the residents of each community," said Bailey.

A contractor has been hired to trap the deer. Any caught deer are then killed with a bolt gun similar to the tool used for killing cattle in slaughterhouses.

The three municipalities decided to cull their urban deer after hundreds of the animals became habituated to living within city limits.

The animals have caused car accidents, brazenly graze on flowers, and have even attacked pets and people.

With files from the CBC's Bob Keating