Updated June 2024

About Us

The Sidney Island Deer Management Society was founded in Nov. 2021 to provide a voice to Island Owners who disagreed with Parks Canada’s plans to completely eradicate the island’s Fallow and Blacktail deer in an effort to protect some of the natural plant species.


Constitutional purpose:  To promote the management of fallow deer and blacktail deer to ensure their continued presence on Sidney Island, British Columbia.

Sidney Island deer animal welfare and ethics

Purpose and Goals

The Society’s purpose is to promote the management of fallow deer and blacktail deer, to ensure their continued presence on Sidney Island, British Columbia.

strata hunt committee hunt club healthy deer herd

To Promote and Advocate with our Sidney Island stakeholders for a more efficient and viable Deer Management Plan as an alternative to the proposed eradication plan.

strata hunt committee hunt club healthy deer herd

To ensure the deer management plan represents a positive approach which takes into account the importance of restoration and results in a win-win solution where differing interests can be resolved amicably.

strata hunt committee hunt club healthy deer herd

To work with First Nations who hunt in the marine park, for the purpose of developing an effective and consistently managed hunt on Sidney Island.

strata hunt committee hunt club healthy deer herd

To seek the advice of the strata hunt committee and the hunt club on controlling native black tail deer and naturalized fallow deer on Sidney Island, and to promote a healthy herd by collecting and maintaining more detailed hunting records to support a responsible, ongoing deer management plan.

News & Updates

June 11, 2024 — Open letter regarding the relationship between BCSPCA and Parks Canada in the SIERP project to eradicate all deer on Sidney Island, by Wendy Ord

May 23, 2024 — A FOI request by the Canadian Tax Federation suggests that Parks Canada’s budget to eradicate several dozen deer on Sidney Island could reach $12 million.

January 12, 2024 — Given Phase 1 of SIERP confirmed how few deer are on the Island, the Sidney Island Deer Management Society takes the position that Parks Canada must cancel Phase 2 of SIERP to avoid further embarrassment and conflict on the Island
January 4, 2024 — Cost of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of SIERP could reach $65,000 per deer

Phase 1 of Parks Canada’s eradication project on Sidney Island took place between Dec 1-12, 2023. This phase used helicopter gunning and 3 marksman on the ground. Parks Canada reports that 84 deer were “removed.” This included 66 fallow deer and 18 native black tail. Four deer were not recovered. Parks had advised us that Phase 1 would kill 90% of the deer population. By our calculation that leaves 9 deer on the Island. Park’s plans to kill these animals in Phase 2 by using fencing, corralling and hunting dogs. Fencing will begin in July/24. Given the known budget, the cost to the tax payer for this project could reach $65,000 per deer.

We note Parks Canada has insisted that there was a hyper abundance of fallow deer on the Island that required eradication to protect the Douglas Fir ecology. These numbers prove Parks was misinformed. The Sidney Island Deer Management Society through the keeping of detailed statistics over the past 6 years knew Parks Canada was wrong with regard to its estimates of between 300-900 deer and we told them so. They refused to listen. Sidney Island was successful in managing this herd for very little cost. Any wildlife biologist will tell you that given the size of Sidney Island an appropriate biodiversity balance had already been achieved. But Parks Canada’s view is that 1 fallow deer is 1 too many.

The Sidney Island Deer Management Society will do everything it can to save the remaining deer on the Island.

November 1, 2023 — Independent Report by Prof David Bird, emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology, McGill University
October 30, 2023 — SIDMS letter to Ministry of Forest officials challenging the validity of permits allowing helicopter and dog hunting on Sidney Island
October 28, 2023 — Parks Canada has announced that it will begin aerial gunning by helicopter for the purpose of eradicating all deer on Sidney Island on Nov. 25, 2023

The Permits required under the BC Wildlife Act have not yet been issued as of October 28. The Sidney Island Deer Management Society is of the view the BC Wildlife Act does not allow for the issuance of such permits given the circumstances of Sidney Island. The Act requires that helicopters can only be used when necessary to “preserve wildlife” or to “control wildlife populations”. There is no wildlife on Sidney Island that requires “preservation” and the deer population is already well controlled. Moreover “control” does not mean eradication. Perhaps these permits have not been issued because they would be invalid!

Please click the following graphic to read the 3 page PDF regarding a planned demonstration on November 3rd at 1:00 pm in Sidney, BC.

poster pdf

The demonstration is organized by Sharon Glynn and supported by the Animal Alliance of Canada. Its purpose is to shed light on Parks Canada’s plans to unnecessarily eradicate all deer on Sidney Island by helicopter gunning and hunting dogs.

We are trying to get an idea of numbers, so please contact organizer, Sharon Glynn, if you can attend or if you have questions. She would be very pleased to hear from you. Her number is (250) 652-1717 and email:

The demonstration will be respectful and educational and we hope to have the media attending.

September 14, 2023 — Professor David Bird, emeritus professor of wildlife biology at McGill University, asks whether an "eradication as proposed by Parks Canada is even feasible/ ethical” His answer is that such action would "surely serve to give not only Parks Canada but our entire country a huge black eye in the eyes of the world?”

A growing number of South Island Residents (15,000+) are voicing concerns regarding the ethics of the kill and lately, the process that Parks Canada undertook to get approval.

Recently, the ANIMAL ALLIANCE of CANADA has joined the OPPOSITION by raising concerns about a potential CONFLICT OF INTEREST in the awarding of the ERADICATION CONTRACT. (See Times Colonist, Aug. 04 edition)


The Animal Alliance of Canada cites a damaging FOI report that Parks Canada has created a false narrative related to the need to eradicate Sidney Island’s fallow deer by helicopter aerial gunning.


A petition started in Victoria BC 2 years ago is now on the brink of reaching its target goal of 15,000 signatures. View the petition at by clicking here.


On a small Island off the coast of Vancouver Island, Parks Canada is seeking to once again hold an unjustifiable and inhumane eradication of fallow deer with aerial gunning from helicopters and harassment by dogs.

Sidney Island is part of a chain of Islands that make up the Gulf Islands National Park. It is also partly private property with approximately 100 lots overseen by a strata corporation.

Fallow deer were initially introduced to Sidney Island back in 1908 for hunting purposes. With minimal predators on the Island, the population grew to approximately 3000 deer in in the early 2000’s. At that time, approximately 2000 deer were killed and recent estimates by local residents suggests the population currently is around 300. While damage to the ecosystem was present with the peak population, a UBC report from five years ago shows a 30% improvement to the ecosystem since. There is no evidence to support Parks Canada’s assertion that the ecosystem is currently not continuing to regenerate and that the current population of deer is not sustainable.

Regardless of a lack of evidence and data to support eradication, and no current scientific count, Parks Canada has pushed forward an agenda to exterminate fallow deer from Sidney Island. This includes spending $5.9 million dollars to hire contractors, Coastal Conservation, to kill the deer from helicopters and hunting on the ground with dogs. This is very similar to the $6 million spent in 2018 to eradicate deer from Haida Gwaii with aerial sharpshooters from New Zealand.

AAC West Coast Campaign Director, Jordan Reichert, said the eradication program is unethical, unjustified, and absurdly expensive. “Without even doing a scientific count, Parks Canada has claimed there are too many deer on Sidney Island to maintain its ecology and are proceeding with a $6 million eradication program that sounds more like a blockbuster film plot than good policy. We strongly oppose the eradication program and will work to hold them accountable.”

Thanks to a small group of concerned and compassionate landownerswho started the Sidney Island Deer Management Society on Sidney Island, Parks Canada, Coastal Conservation, and the strata corporation have been exposed for promoting this unjustifiable and inhumane killing. There are also serious concerns mentioned by Parks Canada staff, obtained through FOI requests, of a “conflict-of-interest” in how the contract has been awarded and the spurious justification for eradication that we are currently investigating.

They need our help now to hold these public and private bodies accountable for the suffering and slaughter Parks Canada are spending $6 million dollars of tax-payers money to support.

– Animal Alliance of Canada


Result of March 2, 2023 Strata Corporation vote regarding approval of Parks Canada’s plan to eradicate all deer on Sidney Island.

There were 110 eligible voting units.
50 approved the plan
46 disapproved the plan
3 abstained
11 did not vote.

Out of the 110 voting units 54.5% DID NOT approve Parks Canada’s plan. If those who abstained and did not vote are discounted 52% voted IN FAVOUR.

December 15, 2022 — CRT PROCESS RULING

Summary of CRT decision issued Dec. 15, 2022 and sent to the owners on Dec. 17, 2022.

The CRT concluded that:

A vote is required to approve the ALA since an approval vote was a term in the agreement itself;
the deer eradication portion of the ALA is not a “significant change” to the use or appearance of the common property, therefore a majority vote and not a ¾ vote is required to authorize the deer eradication work;
the Direction resolution passed by the ownership in 2021 regarding “significant change” does not apply to deer eradication in the ALA; and

there is insufficient evidence at this time to determine the vote threshold for the vegetation portion of the ALA.

The CRT ordered the Strata Corporation to hold a Special General Meeting (SGM) within 90 days of the decision to vote on a majority vote resolution to approve deer eradication work in the ALA (Access to Licensing Agreement).

November 12, 2022 — HUNT NUMBERS

Deer Hunt numbers dating back 6 years to 2017/2018 continue to support a balanced approach to ecological diversity on Sidney Island. The hunt numbers themselves are compiled and maintained by long time island owner Ross Hedley, Sidney Islands’ Hunt Committee head.

While hunt numbers vary from year to year, they appear to average 92 deer annually since 2017/2018 and strongly suggest that the deer population has been declining. In our opinion we could well be approaching a STEADY STATE due to the efforts of the Island’s Hunt Committee and an experienced community of local hunters. We are also observing increasing evidence of a healthy Spring vegetation recovery.

Two interesting facts related to Ross Hedley’s records are that the strongest monthly hunt numbers occur in October due to the Fallow deer rut and that the Blacktail deer numbers are less than 10%.


The recent vote by Sidney Island’s Strata Council has come as a shock to many island Owners who have been working diligently to offer an alternative to Parks Canada’s Fallow deer eradication plan.

On July 12, 2022, Sidney Island’s Strata Council, in a vote 4 to 2 with 1 abstention, CONTESTED a May 5, 2022 vote involving ALL the island’s Owners and which had successfully prevented Parks Canada from carrying out the eradication of the island’s Fallow deer.

In this surprise move, Council ruled that ecological restoration (including deer eradication) was simply a REPAIR and did not constitute a “significant change in use or appearance of common property” under their existing Charter and as such would would not require Owner approval.

In essence the Owner approval vote threshold which had been upheld by several Councils since 2018, permitting Parks Canada to carry out the cull, went from a required 75% to 0.

This matter is before the Civil Resolution Tribunal. We are in the adjudication process. We do not expect a final decision for many months.


A group of Sidney Island owners have applied to the Civil Resolution Tribunal requesting it upholds the 75% voting threshold regarding the eradication of a small herd of deer on Sidney Island. This threshold has been promised by Sidney Island Councils for the past 4 years. The claim also seeks injunctive relief to prevent Sidney Island Council from changing the threshold before the matter is fairly adjudicated by the CRT having heard all sides of the issue.


Sidney Island Strata owners soundly defeated Parks Canada’s plan to eradicate the Island’s Fallow and Blacktail deer herd with 45% of the Owners voting NO. The motion needed 75% for approval — It got 55% with 45% votes against and therefore failed.

An appeal was immediately initiated the following day by 6 property owners who filed Claim with BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) disputing the validity of the vote threshold and asking that it be reduced to a simple majority of 50%.

We understand that our Strata Council will now review the Claim before deciding to respond to the CRT. We will keep you apprised of that process and outcome.

Freedom of Information Request

Results of FOI Request for Documents Relating to Parks Canada’s Proposal to Eradicate Deer on Sidney Island
Feb. 14, 2022

Introduction: The period subject to the request was 2017- June 7, 2021. On August 9, 2021 FOI advised there were 12,000 pages included under the criteria chosen. After reviewing the document titles, it was decided to look at 585 pages. We have reserved the right to look at more and we are considering making a further request to bring us up to date. The following is a very brief summary. Note that the purpose of this summary is not to repeat information about the eradication proposal which is already known but instead to identify what we did not know.

PDF (7MB) — Freedom of Information Document (opens in a new window)

Page numbers shown below refer to the page numbers in the above PDF file.


The earliest budget appears in Coastal Conservation’s 2012 proposal. The budget was suggested at $798,850. (Page 131)

The latest budget found in the documents and dated Nov 2019-April 2022 provided a budget of $2,841,325. (Page 227) We are advised there is an updated budget that comes in at 6 million. We emphasize we have not seen this document.

The budget for Restoration is dealt with outside of the eradication budget. It is not clear whether this is an aspirational budget or a committed budget: $22,000 for hawthorn removal for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 and $5,000 for trees/seeds for same period. (Page 298)

Actual expenditures for 2021 are listed as $9,600 for 8 exclosures and $5,000 for hawthorn removal. (Page 419)


Aerial hunting is budgeted at $1,080,000. ($9,000 a day for 120 days). Hunting with dogs is set at $960,000. ($8,000 a day for 120 days) (Page 244). The aerial hunting budget indicates the importance of this technique. The proposal advises:

“Aerial hunting is likely to be highly successful for fallow deer on Sidney Island because most of the forest canopy is open enough to detect deer and there are numerous natural and man-made openings on the Island”. (Page 66)

Note: Will aerial hunting be used to herd deer on private property?


The documents on this issue are confusing but the bottom line seems to be expressed in an email dated April 27, 2021, to Parks Canada’s project manager: “The key to this is that we are not taking on the liability, we are transferring liability to those who have insurance. This is limited in scope to Sallas lands”. (Page 552). Further comments indicate that private landowners must rely on the insurance of the hunters rather than Coastal Conservation or any indemnity from Canada. This would be described in an “access agreement” with owners. It is not clear what insurance owners could rely on if they do not sign an agreement. (Page 552) Note: there is no legal draft relating to insurance in the documents but there are significant redactions of legal advice.


Coastal Conservation’s (CC) mission is to remove introduced invasive vertebrate species from islands to encourage natural recovery of the ecosystem. The documents indicate that CC and its staff and technical advisors continue to contract with Parks Canada and are “running the show” to obtain approval for their eradication proposal. In looking at a million dollar increase in budget it is stated that “no one else can do the work”. Further: “Will likely go out to bid, but could potentially make a case for sole source via public works” (Page 256). CC’s Head of Global Affairs is the Chair of SIERP. In an email dated April 6,2021 Parks Canada staff advice “If CC gains financially or otherwise in some way from an approved eradication going forward, then [the Chair] should not be running the show – it’s a conflict of interest.” (Page 306)

The Chair has turned down the suggestion from Parks Canada to look at alternatives in an Email dated Dec 16, 2020: “The Concept of control of fallow deer coming into the conversation concerns me because it is not in line with the Purpose of the project as we defined it last year or in the MOU.” (page 445) In notes prepared for the SIERP on August 6, 2020 the Chair writes the following: “…the numbers of deer on the Island have been reduced dramatically and the impacts of fallow deer are not really obvious and it is unlikely that the BENEFIT of eradication will be clear on implementation.” (Page 219) To overcome this he suggests a communications strategy relying on owners’ vegetable gardens and arbutus saplings. (Page 219)


Biosecurity (no repopulation) is considered highly important to the success of eradication given the population of fallow deer on James Island, Mayne Island and possibly other islands. (page 139) The CC Proposal advises: “It is important the biosecurity plan be maintained as needed in perpetuity because the long-term benefit of fallow deer removal to the biodiversity of Sidney Island will depend on continued project support from Parks Canada, Sallas, and the public to maintain a deer free island”. (page 139) In evaluating the Project, Parks Canada questioned the long term sustainability of biosecurity. (Page 187)


Parks Canada takes the position that so long as a deer can be killed in a humane way, eradication is ethical. However, documents reviewed by Parks Canada, (Animal Kind, supported BC SPCA) advise: “Lethal Methods may only be used when an animal’s presence is an ongoing threat to human health and safety”. (Page 389) Further the eradication must be achievable. As a result of biosecurity issues and because our fallow deer are “educated” this is by no means certain.

Further, in an email dated April 2,2021 from an ecological restoration specialist for Parks Canada advises the following: “an ecosystem can support some number of fallow deer, we could consider them naturalized (our italics) and work to maintain the species”. She goes on to describe eradication as an “expensive and dramatic option” that can only be justified if there is evidence a healthy ecology requires “zero” fallow deer. She asks where that evidence is. (Page 537-538)

Owner Correspondence and Feedback

SIDMS letter to Ministry of Forest officials challenging the validity of permits allowing helicopter and dog hunting on Sidney Island


Owner Email
Resident and Documentary Filmmaker, Wendy Ord, takes on Parks Canada – PDF

Owner Email
Feedback on the upcoming SI Eradication Vote
Broadcast Email To All Owners
Information Vacuum — Lack of Up-to-Date Information — Safety
Owner’s Email
There are several reasons I believe we should not eradicate the fallow dear including my belief it is unnecessary, blown out of proportion, poor optics with wealthier private land owners having the feds pay a huge amount to clear an island for political optics.

Brief Summary of Opposition to Eradication of Deer on Sidney Island
“We are of the view this is misinformation…”

Deer Management on Sidney Island
“…great confidence in its ability to control both the fallow deer and blacktail deer population on Sidney Island.”

Sidney Island – Proposed Deer Population Reduction Plan
“We believe that we can control the fallow deer population on Sidney Island and strike a balance and compromise for our community…”

Ethics and Animal Welfare
“There is a lack of accurate and current information on the carrying capacity for fallow deer on our island…”

Benefits and Disadvantages of Continuing Current Deer Management Option
“The only realistic and responsible way to satisfy the majority of Sidney Island owners, is to…”

I feel I have been misled

The Moral Imperative of Compassion
“I love those deer!”

Eradication and Restoration Options on Sidney Island
Broadcast email to all Sidney Island Strata Owners, December 21, 2020

Opposition to Sidney Island’s Deer Kill: A Concerned Resident
“It is not hard to see that owners, eager for compromise, are being disadvantaged and Disenfranchised.”

Killing for Conservation
Ethical Considerations for Controlling Wild Animals

Sacrificing Truthfulness

Hard Questions—Honest Answers

Excluding the deer eradication plans where does the SIDM Society stand on the Council’s plans for ecological restoration (SIERP)?

The Society fully supports the concept and practice of ecological restoration and there are many owners who are ready to volunteer their time to monitor the deer population numbers and to gather evidence of ecological restoration.

What does the SIDM Society see as it’s future role going forward?

The Society has no mandate or legal authority to involve itself further in the Island’s deer management program.

Where does the SIDM Society stand on Eric Pelkey’s (WSÁNEĆ Leadership Council) assertion that a complete deer cull on Sidney Island is essential to restoring the native flora, especially those that hold traditional medicinal value to local First Nations?

Most Owners on Sidney Island are supportive of Eric Pelkey’s vision, views and wisdom with respect to restoring traditional native plants but feel that Parks Canada’s plan to completely eradicate the deer using helicopters with shooters and dogs is cruel and unnecessary when it comes to population control. These Owners feel that they have the deer population under control and are seeing encouraging results.

Why does the SIDM Society have an issue with Parks Canada funding a deer eradication program when there is at no cost to Owners and it is the quickest way of stopping the damage to native vegetation?

The latest evidence indicates that the Island’s annual hunt program has been very effective in curbing the damage to the Island’s flora and that the risks associated with PC’s plan of using helicopters with shooters and dogs is simply unacceptable.

: Just as important is the Public Opinion being voiced in Victoria & the Southern Gulf Islands by several thousand people who feel that Parks Canada’s plan is a needless expense and will cause undue suffering to the deer.


Contact Us


Contact the Sidney Island Deer Management Society about your viewpoint or concerns on the eradication of fallow and blacktail deer, overpopulation, or about the ethics and animal welfare by either filling in the contact form or using our email address below.

Email Address