Urban deer in Kimberley are becoming more of a problem; WildSafeBC

Follow these tips to keep wildlife wild and residents safe during fawning season

Now that the warm weather is here, and the deer are giving birth to their fawn(s), WildSafeBC has some tips on how to keep both the wildlife and community members safe.

WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for Kimberley and Cranbrook, Danica Roussy said, “it is very important to educate communities like Kimberley on deer biology and behaviour if human-wildlife conflict is to be minimized in the long-run.”

WildSafeBC says that urban deer are hard to remove from neighbourhoods in Kimberley once they have established themselves. It is important that the deer do not become comfortable in your backyard.

Deer herd during the winter months and become more solitary when they are raising their young from mid-May to October. The deer family includes elk, moose, caribou, mule deer and the white-tailed deer. Mule deer are quite common in B.C. and are beginning to frequent the yards of Kimberley residents at this time of the year.

“Does will show signs of aggression during these months to protect their fawn(s),” said Roussy.

“Bucks become more aggressive during rutting reason. They use their antlers for display, fighting to assert dominance, and to secure breeding privileges with the does. If you see a fawn by itself – leave it alone. Fawns are spotted when new-born to help them camouflage while they are left unattended by the doe as she goes off to feed.”

Roussy recommends the following when it comes to ensuring the safety of our community and the surrounding wildlife.

Never approach a deer, especially if it has young with it.

Do not feed the deer, they have plenty of natural foods in the wild and keeping them there will prevent the need to deal with a deer “problem” in your neighbourhood.

Take away the welcome mat – make your yard unattractive to deer by trimming back any cover that they might use while travelling or bedding.

Use motion activated lights and/or sprinklers. If used randomly, they will help to dissuade deer from using your yard.

Keep dogs close. In the wild, members of the canid family are the natural predators of fawn, therefore, a doe is likely to see your dog as a threat which can elicit a defensive attack by the doe. This is of even greater concern if you are walking your dog off-leash when you come across a doe with fawns. Pets, most commonly dogs, but also cats have been attacked and killed by deer.

Chase deer from your property whenever they appear and they will learn that your property is not worth the effort. Remember, however, that it is illegal for you or your dog to injure a deer.

According to the City of Kimberley website, Council for the City have enacted a bylaw which prohibits the feeding of deer within City limits. The fines that can be incurred from feeding deer or permitting deer to be fed on your property range from $50 to $500.

Roussy also explained that legislation preventing hunting and leash laws within Kimberley and other municipalities throughout B.C. have helped make urban areas more attractive to deer. Highly adaptable, the deer have learned how to survive and thrive in urban environments. Deer are normally timid animals but if they become habituated to humans they can become a danger.

“Deer may signal an impending attack by laying their ears back and lowering their head. If a deer does attack you, try to stay upright as they inflict injury by striking at their opponent with their sharp hooves,” says Roussy. “Cover your head with your arms and back off to some form of shelter.

“It is also important to remember that deer carry a wide variety of ticks and whenever deer have over-wintered you should be on the lookout for ticks at this time of year.”

Report any human-wildlife conflict to the Conservation Officer Service by calling 1-877-952-7277. For more information or if you have any questions or concerns about wildlife in Kimberley, contact Roussy at 250-908-8101 or kimberley@wildsafebc.com.