- Our Town
Watch out for aggressive deer
They can be cute and photogenic, they roam freely around the island and are a delight to watch for residents and visitors alike.
And while we coexist with the deer population, make no mistake these animals are not free roaming pets, they are wild animals and a healthy respect for them is required in order to avoid aggressive situations like the one that happened to Bridget Knipe.
“I came outside around 11 p.m. to see a doe kicking my garbage can across the front yard,” Knipe says. “I tried to chase her off but she just stared me down, completely unafraid and then charged at me. That’s when I got scared and called the police.”
This Deep Bay doe has been kicking people’s green waste bins into the ditch and ransacking garbage cans daily.
Knipe lives in a rental property which is not fenced, so she does whatever she can to protect herself against this aggressive deer, “she has broken lids and trashed my buckets so I have to keep my green waste bags in the freezer and only take them out 30 minutes before they come to pickup.
“I also tuck my garbage can under my stairs the best I can, but this deer is relentless” says Knipe.
Almost everybody at some point has had a deer in their front yard or their back yard and unless your property is well protected with a six-foot fence you will find them in your garden destroying months of hard work or gleaning through your compost. The deer on this island have become habituated and dependent on humans, they are opportunist and will take advantage of every situation they can.
According to conservation officer David Cox, “At this time of year there is a lack of food for these animals so we see more deer entering into residential areas. We also have well-intended people feeding the deer to help them survive throughout the winter, so instead of them forging for their own food in areas more appropriate they are enticed to residential locales.”
The main message Cox wants to get across to people is feeding the deer is not a good idea and for many reasons.
“Putting out food for deer may attract other more aggressive animals such as bears or cougars,” Cox says. “Enticing deer into residential neighborhoods increases the likely hood of car accidents.
“Ruminants have very delicate digestive systems and they cannot break down certain foods. If they are not feeling well or diseased due to an inappropriate diet they can become aggressive.”
So what can people do when faced with an aggressive deer? Cox believes that prevention is the key—eliminate the attractants.
“Whether its a deer, a bear, a cougar or a domesticated wolf dog, once an animal has located a food source its only natural for them to want to protect it, Cox says.
“If they see you as a threat to their food they can become protective over it. In the end we want to protect our wildlife but we also need to keep the public safe,” says Cox.
Place garbage curb side the day of and not the night before. Freezing green waste helps to cut down on odors.
If you find yourself faced with an aggressive deer stay a safe distance away from it, you can send them an auditory message by banging pots and pans or blowing an air horn to spook them away.
To avoid conflict make sure you give them an option to escape safely so they don’t feel trapped.
If you encounter an aggressive deer or have any issues with wild life you can report the incident to the Ministry of Environment conservation officer service at 1-877-952-7277.