It isn’t the deer we need to manage

People and cars cause more problems on our roads than deer do

The Citizens’ Advisory Group appointed to consider ideas for managing our blacktailed deer met for the first time May 9. For updates, the Capital Regional District has an email connection available. However, my question remains: Is it the deer that need to be managed?

During 2011, I drove roads on the Peninsula almost daily to photograph the deer as they live. Because I was scanning the roadsides, I drove at the posted speed limits. Other vehicles sped past me angrily on blind corners, on tight corners; on one occasion, I had to drive into a ditch to avoid a truck whose driver apparently couldn’t see a car, never mind a deer. At posted limits, I had no problem slowing down for deer on, or coming toward, the road. A quick look at the ICBC deer collision map for 2000-10 shows that the hotspots for collisions are on the Pat Bay Highway, Blenkinsop Road, West Saanich Road – all roads where people consistently ignore speed limits.

I did see deer jumping fences, but these were broken down old fences that even I could get over. I did not see deer jump tight, well-maintained fences, nor did I see deer inside those fences eating the produce. Understandably, people don’t want plants eaten, pets attacked by human-habituated deer, or the natural predators of deer, such as the cougars.

I don’t want my dogs (or begonias) attacked by a cougar or a deer. However, I suggest we enforce a traffic management plan vigorously since vehicles are the biggest predators of deer, children and pets. I also suggest we cull broken down fences and let gardeners and farmers build appropriate deer fencing.

To solve the “deer issue,” we will ultimately have to manage people.

Marsha Mildon