Photos by Linda Foubister
These pictures illustrate a sane response to the presence of deer in our gardens. This beautiful natural-style garden in south Oak Bay, nestled against the northeast base of Gonzales Hill, is much visited by wildlife. Friends of the owner, Marion Cumming, came up with a way to make room for everybody: thin, roped-together pieces of local driftwood create frames on which invisible netting is fitted to protect vegetable and flower beds, a technique which is attractive, natural and affordable.
The frame in the bottom photo looks like a large hockey goal, but is not meant for a version of "he shoots, he scores" such as the town of Cranbrook favours for deer control. Some want the CRD to employ the same cruelty: a deer is tangled in a net, possibly for hours of panic and injury, before being sloppily stunned by a bolt gun (the type used in slaughterhouses - one reason why so many of us are vegetarians).
Winter is cruel enough to wildlife, whether in natural forest or suburbia: they suffer frost-hard ground, cold air, snow cover and little to eat. Some nature-lovers pity birds in winter and put out feeders. Once the feeders are out that is where the birds will be found. We could do the same with deer: put feeders in the areas where we want them confined (e.g. away from roads). Keep wooded corridors preserved throughout the city, linking up the feeding stations. Tree cover and the urban forest are best for humanity as well, if air cleansing, pollution reduction, wind buffers, shaded streets and gardens in summer heat, and visual aesthetics are worth having.
It is interesting, how what is best for the human population is best for the nonhuman population as well. No ugly slaughter, murder and mayhem needed in the neighbourhoods ...