In my youth on an orchard near Skaha Bluffs, my father had a permit to use a spotlight to shoot deer in the orchard. Deer are not a new problem in Penticton.
Most people I know are not happy to have skunks in their yard. Who enjoys the drumming of a flicker on a metal chimney at dawn? Bears and cougars are a danger when they spend too much time near humans. Squirrels or bats in the attic? Call an exterminator. Mosquitoes, moths, wasps, flies? Window screens. A mouse in the house? Panic. Slugs in the garden? Beer. Black Widow Spider in the basement? Squash it. A raccoon? Rabies danger. Birds in the garden? Scarecrow, netting. Aphids in the flowers? Insecticidal soap. Deer stomping on puppies? Suck it up, they’re a part of nature, and they were here first. So were all the other creatures listed, but it appears that Disney didn’t do a good enough job selling them as wonderful, sweet, poetic creatures.
As far as I know, in the wild, life is a struggle for food, reproduction and survival. Beavers dam a creek without concern for animal or plant life that will drown behind it. Ant colonies wage war on neighbours and take slaves. Different plants secrete chemicals to prevent competitors from growing near them. Different parasites allow their hosts to live, but only while the parasite needs the host. Every creature dies, and, in the wild, those deaths are often grim. Nature is not nice, and population groups are often destroyed by one ugly means or another.
Deer in Penticton are causing problems. Property damage is annoying, pet injuries have occurred and it’s only a matter of time until somebody is injured — possibly because of unwise conduct on their part, but more probably because they have, unknowingly, appeared as a threat to a deer who they didn’t even know was nearby. In the past three years, I have had two experiences where I had reason to fear for my safety and the safety of my (small) dog.
Possible solutions include: extermination through hunting, contraception programs, trapping and relocating to the wild or to a deer farm for eventual harvest. Ignoring the problem won’t work.
I am forwarding a copy of this letter to my MLA and to city council. I believe that the government of B.C. has made money available for deer control, and the City of Penticton has declined. In the event that I, or my dog, are injured by a deer I will seek legal advice regarding recovery of damages due to the city’s failure to deal with a known public safety threat. Like minded individuals may wish to explore this option.