Humane solutions to dealing with problems of “urban” deer

Urban deer management in Sooke starts with the residents

  • Dec. 31, 2014 10:00 a.m.

While Santa’s reindeer were prepping for their flight around the globe lastweek, their cousins, the west coast black-tailed deer, are carrying on with their (often rainy) winter activities in the CRD. Deer reside throughout the south island municipalities and have recently received attention due to human-deer interactions with the residents living alongside them. The most common issues relate to garden damage and car accidents.

While most wildlife issues are the responsibility of the province, municipalities are responsible for creating solutions for their own urban deer management. The solutions chosen by each municipality affect the deer, affect the residents, and are funded by local tax dollars – so it is important for residents to be aware of the most effective and humane solutions.

BC SPCA Wild ARC is opposed to culling of urban deer when it is inhumane and/or there is no scientific justification for lethal measures. Culling is a costly, temporary solution, and Wild ARC instead encourages communities to adopt non-lethal, long-term strategies.

What can you do to lessen the conflict? Here are five simple, humane, and effective options:

1. Don’t feed deer. It encourages them to remain in the area and creates dependency.

2. Fencing. Deer are not likely to jump a fence that they cannot see through.

3. Deterrents. Motion-activated lights, sprinkler systems, and banging pots and pans will all deter deer.

4. Landscaping. Deer love certain plants, such as narrow-leaf evergreens, daylilies and tulips, so these should be avoided. Deer will stay away from poisonous, fragrant, and prickly plants like daffodils, lavender, and rhododendrons. Using these plants will keep deer uninterested in your yard.

5. Follow the speed limit. Respecting traffic laws will result in less deer-related accidents.