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Posted: July 10, 2020

Removing the welcome mat for urban deer

By Danica Roussy

Deer conflicts are increasing in many communities around B.C. as deer lose their natural fear of people, and find food, shelter and safety from predators in urban communities.

To ensure deer do not take up shop in your neighbourhood or yard, it is important to ensure they do not feel comfortable. If they feel comfortable, female deer my decide it is okay to give birth to their fawns and though it sounds cute, it can become aggressive.

Many people do not mind when deer take up residence during the winter months, as they look very sweet and do not tend to bother us. However, once fawning season begins, these “sweet” deer can become a hazard. Does can be protective of their fawns and may charge dogs as they are perceived as a potential predator or threat.

If people do not make the neighbourhood welcoming in the first place, the deer may have wintered elsewhere which could have reduce the potential conflict in the first place.

Removing the welcome mat is quite simple really – make your yard unattractive to deer by trimming back any cover that they may use while traveling or bedding. Motion activated lights and sprinklers, if used randomly, help to dissuade deer from the area as well.

One other way to remove deer from a neighbourhood once they have established themselves it to haze the deer. You can do this my banging pots and pans, using a water gun or even throwing a frisbee at the deer for example.

If you choose to chase the deer from the property whenever they appear, they will learn that your property is not worth the effort and move on. But remember that it is illegal for you or your dog to injure a deer.

While attacks may be unpredictable, signs of an imminent charge include deer laying their ears back and lowering their head.

If you encounter a deer, give them a wide berth and keep pets on leash and under control. If a deer indicates it may attack you or your pet, avoid eye contact, speak softly and back away slowly. If there is a tree or other solid object nearby, try to get behind it. If you have bear spray, it can also be used on deer if they get too close. Fawns have no scent and will wait silently in a secluded place until the doe returns to nurse them. If you believe a fawn has been abandoned, do not approach it, leave the area and call the Conservation Officer Service. A doe may not return if they sense your presence.

If you are attacked by a deer try to stay upright, cover your head with your arms and move to shelter. If you are concerned for your safety or have sighted a deer in your neighbourhood that is no longer afraid of people or pets, please report them to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service by calling 1-877-952-7277. If you do not make the call, the situation may not be assessed as Conservation Officers are not aware of the conflict in the first place.

Lead image: A pair of fawns saunter across the corner of 4th Street N and 23rd Avenue N in Cranbrook on Sunday, July 5. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo

– Danica Roussy is WildSafeBC Kimberley- Cranbrook Community Coordinator

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