In my opinion, it is not a secret that whitetail deer and mule deer have declined in the Grand Forks area but please don’t think for a moment that the deer problems stem from the 150-plus cattle on the Gilpin Range for approximately three months in fall.
The diminishing population of deer has been felt throughout the entire Boundary area. Harsh winters of the past, predators, poor hunting regulations, logging, disease, highway mortality and the suppression of wildfires are all major contributing factors to this decline.
I am also not in support of the single wildlife fence that is in place east of Grand Forks along Hwy 3. While it has done an excellent job of keeping the bighorn sheep off the road, it has also blocked migration routes and water for wildlife.
Wildlife are trapped on the highway side of the fence and either collide with vehicles or find a spot to re-enter the enclosure exhausted and traumatized from the ordeal.
Along with many others, I have also witnessed deer trapped on the top side of the fence with no escape, only to be entangled in the fence and/or killed by coyotes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know full well that considerable time and money was invested by countless people to erect the fence and their efforts should be commended.
Would it not be beneficial to the wildlife population to turn the “wildlife enclosure fence” into a “wildlife exclusion fence?”
By fencing the lower side of the highway complete with underpasses and overpasses, wildlife natural migration routes to water and summer/winter ranges can be re-established and eliminate wildlife/vehicle accidents by up to 97 to 100 per cent.
This is going to come with considerable cost, but isn’t human safety and the preservation of wildlife what the fencing project was intended for?
Perhaps funding could be generated from ICBC, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Transportation and Highways, City of Grand Forks, Tourism BC, Ministry of Forests and British Columbia Wildlife Federation, and used to complete the “Wildlife Exclusion Fence” project.
Leonard Mehmal, Grand Forks