$185K crop destroyed

A Kelowna apple orchardist is out tens of thousands of dollars of potential crop after wildlife tore down his fence and destroyed his trees.

After returning from a month-long vacation, Surjit Nagra discovered the fence had been trampled and his trees destroyed by what appeared to be hundreds of deer and elk, judging by the droppings they left behind.

Earlier this week, a resident in the area sent Castanet a video of more than 100 elk trotting past Tower Ranch Golf Course, likely culprits for the damage to Nagra's crop.

Nagra is now looking into how crop insurance can help him, after the trees that netted him $185,000 in crop last season were all but completely wiped out.

Glen Lucas, general manager of the BC Fruit Growers' Association, says insurance “never gets you back to where you want to be.”

Nagra has been farming his property near Tower Ranch for 21 years, and he says he's never had wildlife issues as bad as this year. He only just put up a fence around his orchard a few years ago, due to growing wildlife concerns.

“There's been some evidence that trapping and relocating the deer is one thing to try, limited-entry hunting could be another thing,” he said.

Lucas says managing wildlife populations is critical to the industry.

“It's critical to our financial viability of our industry to get a handle on this deer population and the damage they're causing,” he said.

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