A tight window of opportunity and a permit delay could derail plans to manage Oak Bay deer populations this year through immuno-contraception.
At a presentation to council on Monday, Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS), who signed onto the provincial urban deer cost-share research program with Oak Bay council in 2016, explained that the potential delay to their deer reduction plan was by request of the province.
“The province wants the data to be sound. They want us to do due diligence,” said Kristy Kilpatrick, president of the UWSS. “They are requiring more research at this point.”
Mayor Nils Jensen also noted an additional request to consult with First Nations before proceeding.
With the first immuno-contraception shots having to be administered before Oct.1, ahead of rutting season, the group has just days to move forward.
“To be completely honest with you, we are not in a great position to execute immuno-contraception this year based on the delays incurred by the province,” said Dr. Jason Fisher, addressing council concern. “You are absolutely right, if we do not get the permit immediately and execute, we will not be able to do it this year. We would delay it a full year.
“We are ready to go. We have the gear in hand, we have the plan in hand. We are just waiting on the province.”
The last 18 months have been spent on the first phase of the project, tracking the movements of 20 does through GPS collars and identifying deer through a camera trap survey to aid the team with density and population estimates by photographing not just the collared deer but all deer that pass by.
The information collected give the municipality a better understanding of deer densities, range, population dynamics and dispersal rates and inform future management decisions.
Mayor Nils Jensen is currently waiting to hear back from the council of the Songhees Nation.
Discussions continue with the province.