The second of Esquimalt’s three deer surveys gets underway this fall, to provide information about their numbers and population growth.

An informed approach is key to understanding – and addressing – urban deer

A few simple steps can help avoid human-deer conflict

With any wild urban species, understanding their nature and behaviour is vital to creating an informed approach to management.

From birds to raccoons to deer, each species has its own behaviours and urban adaptations; while some patterns will be replicated from region to region, others will be unique, and that’s why research-based information is key.

“What a person sees in one part of Esquimalt or Victoria may not be what people see elsewhere,” explains Kristy Kilpatrick, from the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society. “Understanding ‘the big picture’ is essential for effective management; without knowing more about urban deer ecology, wildlife biologists assert that any deer reduction would function like an ineffective ‘folk remedy’ – not a solution.”

It’s also notable that while deer and fawns are more visible in summer than in winter, that’s not necessarily an indication their numbers are growing, Kilpatrick says, noting experts estimate that about 70 per cent of fawns don’t survive their first year, whether due to young, inexperienced mothers, severe weather or urban mishaps such as traffic collisions.

Kilpatrick is encouraged by Esquimalt’s research-based approach, including a commitment to three annual surveys to provide insight as to numbers, growth and population trends. The second survey gets underway this fall. “Esquimalt is on the right path for urban deer management – getting an understanding of the local deer ecology before undertaking management efforts,” she says.

How you can reduce conflict with urban deer

The same knowledge-based approach is good advice for individuals encountering urban deer.

For example, some interpret the defensive stance of a protective doe, likely with a fawn tucked away nearby, as intimidating, but this watchful behaviour is only meant to protect their young and is specific to the fawning season, Kilpatrick says.

“In fact, according to a recent CBC analysis of human-wildlife conflict in BC over the last two years, one is almost twice as likely to be injured by a raccoon as a deer,” she says.

Here’s a few things you can do:

• Because deer see dogs as predators, no matter their size or age, it’s essential to keep dogs leashed and walking close to you. If you see a deer, DO NOT release the leash.

• If a deer appears to be following you, try changing direction, crossing the road or heading back the way you came as you may unknowingly be approaching a hidden fawn, Kilpatrick advises.

• Avoid shouting or waving your arms, which can also be interpreted by the doe as predatory behaviour.

• Coming into fall, rutting season is also on the horizon, when bucks can become similarly more visible; similar approaches can help avoid conflicts.

For more information, visit Learn more about Esquimalt’s deer management initiatives at

Comments are closed

Just Posted

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

‘Good Samaritan’ honoured for saving man from capsized canoe

BC Ambulance Service said Rob Clifford’s actions saved man’s life in December 2017 incident

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Early morning crash on Royal Oak overpass

Emergency crews remain on scene and traffic expected to be affected

Christmas craft beer show coming to Victoria

50 breweries will be featured in the third annual Christmas Craft Beer Show

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Chef claims $1-million with lottery ticket purchased in Ladysmith

A Vancouver woman is $1-million richer after purchasing a winning Lotto Max… Continue reading

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133rd anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

Most Read