Should the city decide to proceed with a cull, BANAC has offered to do the cull and then use the meat, skins, bones, hooves and antlers for cultural purposes. If the city decides to relocate the deer or proceed with targeted fencing, the group would also like to take part.
Danny Williamson, vice-president of BANAC and president of the local Métis Association, noted they are still in the process of discussing everything at the deer meetings.
“We’re thinking that if there may be a cull then maybe we can get in and get the meat, the hides and use them instead of dumping them,” he explained.
Williamson noted that should BANAC be involved in the cull, every part of the deer would be used.
“The Aboriginal people would use the meat, the hide, the antlers and every other piece they possibly can and put it to good use,” he said. “It’s part of our heritage and culture.”
The hide would be used to create drums, the hooves would be used as clackers on traditional dance outfits, and the antlers can be made into buttons as well.
“If there’s a relocation, we’d like to be a part of that too, but it’s hard to relocate deer because they end up getting injured and it’s probably not a good idea to go in that direction,” he said. “There is also the issue of fencing areas around the city that is being discussed. Nothing has been decided, and it doesn’t sound like anything will be decided in the near future.”
A recent deer count in September has shown that the number of deer within the city has stabilized back to 2008 levels.
There are currently around 154 deer living within the Grand Forks city limits, down from last year’s 179.
In 2007, the September count showed 131 deer and in 2008, there was 156 deer. In 2009, there was a count of 205 deer but the count was completed in early October, as opposed to the usual count taken in September. In 2010, there was 174 deer.
Williamson pointed out that BANAC hopes to be able to offer a viable alternative to any of the solutions.
“I do think the (deer committee) meetings are great because they have scientists, and hunters, and a number of people across the board who have various input on the topic,” he said. “There are people who are tracking numbers and looking at figures and they want everybody to be on board before a decision is made. It should give people in the community some peace of mind to know that the decision will not be made lightly and a lot of work is being done.”
The next deer committee meeting will be on Nov. 20 at the Grand Forks Regional District of Kootenay Boundary office’s board room.