Region deer committees looking into joint management project

Key members of the Grand Forks deer committee had a chance to compare notes with other problem deer communities at a recent meeting in Cranbrook.

Members of Grand Forks' deer committee recently went to Cranbrook for a meeting on deer management.

Key members of the Grand Forks deer committee had a chance to compare notes with other problem deer communities at a recent meeting in Cranbrook.

The meeting focused on the different ways the communities are looking at the issue of deer management.

Representatives from five different communities were there, as well as officials from Victoria and conservation officers from the East Kootenays.

Chris Moslin, deer committee member, said that one of the big things that came out of the meeting was a plan for the Grand Forks committee to look into working together with Kimberly, Cranbrook and Invermere to set up a trapping program.

The program would use a clover trap that could be shared and used to trap the deer.

“What they would do is share the costs of building the equipment, purchasing the bolt guns and training their people, and doing that, if possible this year,” Moslin said. “Basically, the thinking is you get all this equipment and expertise together and it spends a week in each town.”

Moslin said that this method of eliminating deer is based on the Helena, Montana deer cull and has been proven effective there.

Montana State supported Helena’s cull especially when it came to butchering the meat.

In this area, the mobile abattoir being put together by the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agriculture Society would help to make the meat fit for human consumption.

“We’re kind of waiting to see how that works out,” he said.

Moslin also said that Cranbrook is ahead of Grand Forks in terms of having a management plan ready.

He said Cranbrook had met with Ministry of Environment and conservation officers to try to force a cull and were told to come back with a plan but he said that provincially, there probably won’t be much support, in the way of funding, for wildlife management. That’s because it would lead to communities all over B.C. wanting funding to eliminate problem animals.

The Grand Forks deer committee is still in the draft stage of the deer management plan.

“We’ve been working on that,” he said. “We need to go back to the next deer committee meeting.”

The management plan first has to be approved by the deer committee, then city council, before the committee can see if some of their budget can be put to cost sharing with the other deer committees.

The next deer committee meeting will likely coincide with the city’s deer count, which will happen in the next few weeks.

The meeting was on April 27 in Cranbrook and Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor chaired.