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Deer team out checking Oak Bay does for collar fit

Veterinarian and volunteer team out in orange visibility vests, marked vehicle
A tagged deer in Oak Bay, where a deer contraceptive study is underway. (Black Press Media file photo)

Does decked out in collars as part of Oak Bay’s immuno-contraception program will have their neckwear fit checked this week.

In a program with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS), 120 female deer in the district were vaccinated between fall 2019 and fall 2020 with some receiving a booster since. All were tagged and collared for information and data collection.

READ ALSO: Wildlife society calls on Oak Bay residents to help dose does

This week the UWSS veterinarian and volunteer team are out and about in orange visibility vests and a marked vehicle that says Wildlife Vet at Work in Area.

The society occasionally hears concerns from the community that a collar is too tight and they’re happy to follow up, said president Kristy Kilpatrick.

“Over the past two years and several checks, none have been found to be too tight a fit, but we prefer to err on the side of caution and some of the does have grown over the past year – although that’s taken into account at the time of fitting,” she said.

READ ALSO: Plant-based diets of deer, rabbits makes poop fair game in garden compost

The collars fit snugly so they don’t chafe up and down or get caught on tree branches.

“It can look like they’re too tight because of fur bunching over the collar but our wildlife vet fits them as one would with a dog – so that two to three fingers slide under the collar,” Kilpatrick explained.

There are three or four does the team is specifically looking for but the group plans to get eyes on as many as possible.

READ ALSO: Parks Canada wants to eradicate invasive deer on Sidney Island

“We only immobilize a doe if it’s really necessary, we want to interfere as little as possible, but if they do decide a hands-on check is determined to be in the best interests of the doe, she will be darted, so we ask the public to keep their distance if they see our wildlife vet with his dart gun,” Kilpatrick said.

Residents can report concerns about the collars to the team or email

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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