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Poll shows strong support for deer cull in Vancouver Island’s Oak Bay

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A recent poll shows that the majority of people living in Oak Bay are unhappy with the deer population, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to fix it.

Over the last decade the Vancouver Island municipality has witnessed “incredible growth” in its deer population, says Oak Bay mayor, Nils Jensen. He told CTV News that a cull may be their only option.

“We wish there were other solutions,” he said. “If we could translocate at a reasonable price we would clearly do that, but the province will not allow it at this point at any cost.”

But according to a poll of just over 400 residents, more than 78 percent support the cull—likely because deer have been a major nuisance in the area as of late.

According to Jensen, several people he spoke to have been struck by deer while on their bikes, and on the nearby Pat Bay Highway, one recently caused a three-car accident.

“They’re causing devastation to gardens, to the environment,” he said, adding to the long list of issues. Last week, there were also news reports of deer in the Oak Bay region getting aggressive, and in some cases, even attacking dog owners.

A priority session will be held in Oak Bay this Friday to discuss next steps, but not all residents are on board. In fact, some even think the survey was rigged. Long-time deer advocate Kelly Carson told CTV that she believes the online survey was tampered with because there’s no evidence to prove where the votes came from.

Jensen, however, maintains that they kept the survey anonymous so that people would give their honest opinion.

“People will not come to council to ask for a deer management program because the anti-cull group are loud, they’re aggressive, they hoot and they holler,” Jensen told CTV. “Nobody wants to be subjected to that kind of abuse.”