July 13, 2015 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON - Deer within Penticton city limits could soon be fair game for hunters.
Penticton's Agriculture Advisory Committee has made a request to allow First Nation harvesters and other regulated hunters the right to hunt on large private holdings with the landowners’ permission on outlying acreages within the city limits.The recommendation came out of a meeting last month following a presentation by the Conservation Officer Service.
Deer populations are causing the agricultural community a lot of grief, says committee Chair Rod King.
The wildlife population management strategy would be similar to what Kelowna has had in place for 20 years, he says.
“Kelowna has had a regulation that allows hunting on agricultural lands greater than two hectares for 20 years. Apparently it’s worked very well for them,” King says.
King notes continuous frustration in terms of agriculture and the deer population and says the consensus of the committee is the problem is getting worse as the years go by.
“I watched a big buck clear an eight-foot high deer fence with ease. It was a beautiful thing to see, but it took half a day to get it out of the yard," he says. “It’s an ongoing issue, and there is evidence that shows if there is hunting pressure adjacent to urban areas, it helps the urban situations too.”
King feels the prospect of such a bylaw looks promising, although there is still a lot of work left to be done.
“It would be a way to relieve deer pressure on the agricultural community, at the same time putting the meat to good use. First Nations hunters have the ability to hunt year round for sustenence, while qualified hunters would be able to participate during hunting season as well," he says.
Council has agreed to let staff investigate the agricultural committee’s recommendation.
“We’ll wait and see what staff comes back (with respect) to the pros and cons and see if it works in Penticton,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015