Urban deer issues increasing with spring, fawning season - InfoNews

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Urban deer issues increasing with spring, fawning season

FILE PHOTO - Penticton's urban deer are taking a more aggresive view of dogs these days as the animals prepare for fawning season.
April 11, 2018 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - Spring season brings many things with it, including an increase in urban deer issues as fawning season soon gets underway.

Yvonne King is a Penticton resident who has never had an issue with the deer that roam her neighbourhood in the Granby Avenue area, but an encounter on Monday, April 9 while walking her dog had her asking what can be done to mitigate such incidents with urban deer and dogs.

King was walking her shepherd cross when a deer on the street spotted them.

“The deer was across the street and three houses down. It started to run towards me and then stopped with its front hoof up. As I took a few more steps to my lawn it came running towards me again and stopped just across the street again, with the front hoof up,” she said, adding she managed to get herself and the dog into their yard and the deer ceased pursuit.

Conservation Officer Dave Cox says deer can’t distinguish between a predator and a domestic animal.

“All they see is a four-legged animal that’s considered a threat, especially when they’re about to have fawns. They get more territorial, and they don’t understand boundaries, like we do,” he says.

Fawning season takes place in spring, which can increase the deer’s aggressive behaviour as deer look for nesting sites and become more territorial.

“To protect yourself, it’s best not to walk dogs near deer, if possible,” Cox says, adding since deer tend to move in herds it can be difficult to identify an overly aggressive animal.

Cox also noted the conservation office doesn’t manage deer within city limits, and although they will respond to aggressive deer complaints, they have never had to put down a deer.

Penticton City Manager Blake Laven says the city regularly receives questions about deer, which tends to be more of an issue in late winter and spring than in fall.

Laven says the city has received reports of aggressive deer and close calls in instances generally involving dogs.

The city works with the regional district on regional strategies to control deer, as well as with the conservation officer service.

“We try to educate residents on conflict avoidance and how to set up a property to deter deer using fencing or certain landscaping choices,” Laven says.

A city strategy implemented in 2011 included a no feeding bylaw, amendments to the city’s firearms bylaw and public education, but abandoned a planned capture and cull after the process was seen as too onerous, costly and ineffective.

Laven says city staff are currently working on a report outlining the issue in Penticton for City Council. They will be providing some options for control for council’s consideration, but Laven says ultimately the staff recommendation will be to maintain its status quo approach.

Fawning season runs from the end of May through the month of June. Deer will often leave their young in tall grass or in shrubbery as they move around the neighbourhood to feed, and members of the public encountering fawns should leave them alone.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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