The District of Elkford plans to collar and relocate part of its 70-80 deer population starting this fall.

The District of Elkford plans to collar and relocate part of its 70-80 deer population starting this fall.

Elkford deer relocation set for Fall 2015

The District of Elkford is looking to move forward with its plan for deer relocation in September or October of this year.

The District of Elkford is looking to move forward with its plan for deer relocation in September or October of this year.

The district hired a consultant and a report was filed, highlighting the relocation process and its costs. Over the next few council meetings, staff and council will review the report and consider whether the tagging, collaring and relocating of the 70-80 deer in the district is worth the time and expense.

“I’m very excited that I’ve had a chance to lead this project,” said Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher. “We have the information, now we’re going to study, review and discuss it.”

McKerracher has hopes that the district will obtain government or Fish and Wildlife Bureau funding, as each collar will cost approximately $1,500.

Half of the deer will be tagged, half collared and 20 will be relocated.

“We’re not sure with the cost of the collars if we can move forward unless we have financial support from someone else,” said McKerracher. “It would be a pilot project and if it were to work with any success it would be a huge benefit to all the municipalities in B.C.”

McKerracher has suggested that the government create a fund for municipalities such as Elkford and those vulnerable to deer populations to apply for financial assistance in relocation.

“I wanted to set up a fund so that communities that have done all their homework and formed their committees and by-laws about not feeding wildlife, planting different shrubs, making sure you’re growing the right things in your backyard and who have taken all the steps to get to the relocation phase can apply for funding once a year to help with relocation costs,” explained McKerracher.

McKerracher added, “It’s important that we’re all on the same page and we’re all trying to do the right thing. I realize that culling or harvesting is not a great thing but when the deer are aggressive and start attacking young moms with strollers it’s not a good thing either.”

The aggressive behaviour of Elkford’s deer is what fuelled last year’s cull, which was met with some opposition.

“There was an outspoken group in the community that were very strongly opposed to the deer cull,” noted McKerracher. “There were a lot of people in the community in favour of the cull, but of course they don’t march around with signs.”

Since last year’s harvest, a Wildlife Management Committee has been formed and includes one of the strongest opponents of the cull.

McKerracher said that having an oppositional voice on the committee allows them to provide input immediately and to follow along with the issue from its inception.

The committee also includes the mayors of Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere who also intend to relocate portions of their deer populations.

Once council has made a decision regarding relocation, an open public forum will be held and detailed relocation information will be shared with the community.