If you happen to be out in the misty early dawn or dusk hours over the next few days and see a vehicle or two being driven slowly and methodically throughout Oak Bay, you're likely watching a deer count underway.
As the final step in the CRD involvement in the Oak Bay deer population reduction pilot project, a second deer count is occurring.
The CRD invited the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society to participate in this count, and two of our board members, Bryan Gates (President) and Ralph Archibald (Director) are providing their extensive experience and expertise.
Bryan is a retired registered professional biologist with four decades of experience (he received his master's on a study of Vancouver Island black tailed deer) and worked in environmental management and impact assessment with the BC government for 23 years.
Ralph is a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Environmental Stewardship for BC’s Ministry of Environment, with 40 years experience in the natural resource sector. They will be working with 10 others to begin to get an accurate as possible estimation of the number of deer in Oak Bay.
This count is different from the count completed in 2014 (and therefore cannot be considered a comparison) as it will cover all roads in Oak Bay and use a revised methodology developed by the CRD in consultation with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff.
It is an index count which is a sample that can and should be repeated a number of times each year (at least quarterly) to determine trends in deer population size, show areas of relative concentrations of deer (where the greatest numbers are located) and year to year changes in numbers.
The CRD and province state that “regular counts are an important part of a deer management program”. They also state that deer management options include conflict reduction, vehicle-deer collision mitigation, public education and population reduction. These are all important components of the UWSS mandate that we are actively working on.
The UWSS continues to lobby for these initiatives and is working with the provincial and federal governments to obtain permits for the use of immuno-contraception as a humane, sustainable, economical and long lasting solution to population stabilization and reduction.