Resident up in arms over deer cull idea

A local man is voicing his concern over Ucluelet’s perceived interest in conducting a deer cull.

During an Oct. 14 meeting, Ucluelet’s municipal council made plans to meet with the BC Conservation Officer Service and the Ucluelet Fish and Game association to discuss potential options for controlling Ucluelet’s deer population. Council also agreed to seek out communities that have conducted deer culls in the past, to investigate best practices for a potential deer cull in Ucluelet.

Deer culls are a method of trapping and killing deer.

Council’s decision to look into conducting a cull was sparked by a letter sent to the district on Sept. 29 from local Lisbeth Edwards who had recently experienced a frightening wolf encounter and urged the district to address Ucluelet’s deer population.

Edwards argued deer are attracting too many predators, like wolves, into town and wrote that other communities have conducted deer culls with success.

The Westerly News reported on the issue in “Inspired by letter, Ukee may consider deer cull,” Oct. 22, and Ucluelet local David White did not like what he read in his local paper that week.

White penned his own letter to council voicing his opinion that a deer cull would be a bad move.

Dated Oct. 24, it was set to be reviewed during Ucluelet’s Tuesday night council meeting. “We all know that the interface between human habitation and wildlife is sometimes not a comfort zone,” he wrote adding he sympathizes with Edwards for the startling wolf encounter she experienced. He suggested Ucluelet’s wildlife should be celebrated rather than fought.

“Sometimes, I fancy that certain people need to ask themselves a question about why they are here,” he wrote. “If we want to urbanise, suburbanise, citify, and prettify this place, to the point where the order of priority for animal life is dogs and cats, then this will become (Qualicum Beach) not Ucluelet.”

He added many residents and tourists are drawn to Ucluelet because of the area’s rich

natural heritage. “We love it, we put up with rain, storms, bad roads through snowy mountains, few shops, etc. precisely because Ucluelet (to use your own slogan, “On the Edge”) has escaped the rash of suburbanitis,” he wrote.

“Wildlife is part of what makes this place so special and occasionally, yes, it strays into our space, though with rather less devastating effect than the way humans have encroached on theirs.”

He acknowledged there is a chance of encountering a predator in Ucluelet but suggested the existence of such a chance should not lead to the termination of wildlife.

“Sadly, there are those who would be happy to get shot of the lot or at least send them packing into some sanitised context where they exist on the postcards sold in the village, and souvenir trinkets, but remote from a slight, meaningful presence,” he wrote.

He wrote that he did not wish harm on anyone through exposure to predators and noted he has lived in Africa and is aware of the dangers wildlife can pose.

“But let’s get things into proportion,” he wrote. “Hardly anybody has been killed by a wolf in the whole of North America in the last half century. In BC alone 300 people meet their death behind the steering wheel every year, but nobody says to cull the car salesmen.

“Do you know, in fact, where I most feel at risk from animals? On the Wild Pacific Trail, now getting known as the wild dog trail,” he wrote. “There is tangible danger, a) from people who go jogging with unleashed hounds, who can be quite nasty until the owner arrives and b) from slipping on the mess they sometimes leave.”

He suggested dogs are not the wildlife tourists traditionally seek to see.

“I wonder how the concept of “wild” they have travelled far to see marries with encountering various Fidos and Rex’s, of uneven humour, that are now the dominant four legged life on the trail,” he wrote.