Let’s Do What Doesn’t Work and Kill (Nearly) All the Deer!


Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

Published 01/27/17

Deer© C. Watts

Cranbrook is a town that hosts nearly 20,000 humans in the core municipal area and 116 deer. There used to be somewhat fewer deer, according to the people who go around counting them—but a lot of people living there want fewer deer, and so the councillors spent quite a bit of tax money to do something that produced more.

Does that make sense to you? It seems wonky to me. But, although I love the town (which sits in a wide and scenic mountain valley in southeastern British Columbia), I don’t live there. When I go there, I take great pleasure in both the beautiful scenery and the wildlife, including the mule deer who come and go from the surrounding forests.

Unlike the widely-distributed white-tailed deer, the mule deer—native to our western provinces and states—are not especially nervous. Female deer do not step away from fawns when real or imagined danger threatens, and dogs are sometimes seen as threats to be attacked (and not fled from, as white-tails almost always do). Mule deer eat garden plants and drop euphemistically-named “deer pellets” on lawns and sidewalks, if not excessively: more than some folks can tolerate. And, they get hit by cars (although they also cause cars to slow down and drivers to be cautious, making streets safer for pedestrians, especially children).

And, every so often—very rarely—they will go after a human, especially one with a dog. Only three aggressive deer have been killed by police in Cranbrook in 12 years, according to provincial data.

Therefore, in 2011, Cranbrook trapped and killed 24 deer; 24 in 2013; four in 2015; and 20 in 2016. Numbers of deer have varied, but overall, they have grown from 96 in 2010 to 116 in 2015, according to Cranbrook’s own figures. The method of killing is brutal and random, with about half the number being white-tailed deer and harmless young mule deer.

Meanwhile, people are learning a little better about co-habiting with these wonderful animals. Complaints about deer have gone down to a five-year low of—wait for it—18 complaints.

So, what has the provincial ministry allowed Cranbrook to do? Kill all the deer, or nearly all. Last December 1, the province gave the city permission to kill up to 100 mule (and white-tailed) deer between then and March 15. Of course, people who like the deer (including visitors like me) are not considered, but the British Columbia Deer Protection Society is there to fight back.

Lee Pratt, Cranbrook’s new mayor, can be reached at Lee.Pratt@cranbrook.ca.

Keep wildlife in the wild,


5 thoughts on “Let’s Do What Doesn’t Work and Kill (Nearly) All the Deer!

  1. People are crazy. Have humans been infected by a crazy, or stupid virus, while we have been distracted by a zombie virus?

  2. Yes, it does not make sense and if things were rational, the 20,000 human population would be culled, starting with those who think that 116 deer are just way too many. I have some choice words to describe them, the words start with mother, father, f ers. I am sorry for the profanity but right now words are the only things I have to throw at the human looking parasites.

  3. Roger, you’re right. I think Homo Sapiens was infected a very long time ago–right after we crawled down from the trees. After that, we just started killing each other, and all other life. I am ashamed to be a member of this species. Where are the ETs –perhaps they could just annihilate us and leave all the other life!


  4. I have the same problem. The recommended population is 8 white tailed deer/sq mi or about 104 for the entire township. Bow hunters killed 28 deer vs 27 last year; 54 deer were struck by vehicle vs 29 struck last year. Clearly cars are permitted to travel at highway speeds of 45 mi/hour on our main roads. Much of the cover has been cleared because of development that will soon start. Now the USDA APHIS will hand down their deer count and plan to sharp shoot the remaining deer. The “gods” of the township don’t want to understand that the USDA will have to be employed yearly as other deer will move in. This is thoroughly unacceptable. The Commissioners say we have a representative democracy and you elected us. Oh yeah – they were elected to do whatever they wanted to do!

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