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Kimberley cull done after traps damaged

Devin Kazakoff, a member of the Invermere Deer Protection Society, is facing charges of mischief and disguising the face in connection with a Feb. 27 Kimberley incident. - Courtesy Columbia Valley Pioneer
Devin Kazakoff, a member of the Invermere Deer Protection Society, is facing charges of mischief and disguising the face in connection with a Feb. 27 Kimberley incident.
— image credit: Courtesy Columbia Valley Pioneer

Sally MacDonald and Carolyn Grant

Kimberley's 2014 cull of 30 mule deer is effectively over as four of the five clover traps being used were vandalized and damaged on February 27.

Devin Kazakoff, a founder of the Invermere Deer Protection Society, is one of two men charged over allegations of deer trap tampering in Kimberley last week.

Kazakoff and another man, Lucky Gene Sikora, appeared before a Judicial Justice of the Peace in Cranbrook on Thursday, Feb. 27 on charges of mischief, and disguising the face with intent to commit an offence.

They were released from custody and will next appear in Cranbrook Criminal Court on May 20 to consult legal counsel.

They were released with a $1,000 bail under a number of strict conditions which include: not to enter the City of Kimberley; not to be within 500 metres of a Ministry of Forests or Ministry of Environment office or facility in B.C.; not to be within 500 metres of any lawful deer trap facility; to report to a bail supervisor and abide by a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

According to RCMP, two men were arrested early on Feb. 27 after they were observed damaging a deer trap in Kimberley and fleeing the scene on foot and then in a vehicle.

Police tracked the vehicle to a side road south of Kimberley and took the two men into custody.

A police dog found netting from traps nearby, and a search of the vehicle found items police believe were used to tamper with the traps. Four traps in total were damaged.

Kazakoff's Invermere Deer Protection Society sued the District of Invermere in 2012, claiming that council failed to properly consult residents before deciding to carry out a deer cull.

The civil suit was defeated in B.C. Supreme Court last November. That same month, Invermere voted to go ahead with deer culls in a referendum, with 74 per cent in favour of the deer management strategy.

The Invermere Deer Protection Society is a member of the B.C. Deer Protection Coalition, which has been outspoken against culls in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere. The Animal Alliance of Canada is also a member of the Coalition.

Earlier this month, 10 clover traps were stolen from a government compound in Cranbrook. Police found seven of the traps in bush nearby but six had been destroyed in a fire. Three remain missing. No arrests have been made in the Feb. 9 incident.

Mayor Ron McRae said with only one trap left, the cull is over.

"We can't do an effective cull without sufficient traps. In effect the cull is done. The permit will run out and we will not seek an extension."

McRae said that with the traps damaged in Cranbrook after a break in to the government yard in February, he didn't believe there were any other traps left.

He did not say how many deer had been culled before the traps were damaged.

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