An Enderby farm was under siege Thursday.
Conservation officers depopulated the approximately 30-deer Rivers Bend Fallow Deer Farm Thursday.
“There is non-compliance out here that we are following up,” said Insp. Tobe Sprado with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Farm owner Richard Yntema says upwards of 20 people were on his 50 acres Thursday capturing or killing his deer.
The farm’s license was rescinded more than a year ago, which the owner claims was mainly due to old trees from a neighbouring property falling on the deer fencing. With several different ministries involved, Yntema has struggled to resolve the issue.
“I’ve been deer farming since 1991 and this is the end of my career in deer farming due to the heavy-handed administration,” said Yntema, who is disgusted with how he and now the animals and his property are being treated. “The whole thing is a fiasco.”
Provincial wildlife veterinarian Helen Schwantje, who has been advising those trying to capture the deer at the farm, says it is a complicated file that has gone on for many years with a number of issues with the property.
“They (deer) are escaping on a regular basis which is causing a lot of complaints,” said Schwantje of the non-native species.
The Ministry of Agriculture says it worked with the operators over the last 10 years, “informing them on multiple occasions, of what actions they would need to complete to maintain their license, and worked with members of the community that had concerns about the impact of fallow deer at large on their property and in their community.”
Capturing the deer has proven a challenge for officers on the property as they are “extremely nervous and sensitive,” she said.
“It’s a challenge to handle and capture even native deer but fallow deer are a step above that.”
Efforts being used are to immobilize the deer with darts. They will then be transported to a deer farm in Vanderhoof.
“If the animals can’t be caught safely they will euthanize them,” said Schwantje. “It will be by gunshot.”
Any of the killed deer suitable for human consumption will be offered to local First Nations.