Fawns may not recognize vehicles or bikes as a potential threat, making it all the more important for drivers and cyclists to be alert to their unexpected appearance. Jen Blyth photo.

Fawns may not recognize vehicles or bikes as a potential threat, making it all the more important for drivers and cyclists to be alert to their unexpected appearance. Jen Blyth photo.

Be Deer Aware: The 5 DOs of fawning season

As the weather warms and those spring showers grow fewer, more of us will hit local paths, trails and roadways. But humans aren’t the only ones exploring further from “home.”

Spring also brings the start of fawning season, meaning it’s time to pay a little more attention as you drive, cycle and stroll local neighbourhoods, says Kristy Kilpatrick, from the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, working with the Township of Esquimalt on deer management, in addition to undertaking a research and deer contraception program in Oak Bay.

The good news is that following a few simple steps will help minimize the likelihood of conflicts with our urban wildlife:

If you find a fawn, DO leave it alone – Does shelter fawns from predators, leaving for long periods to forage, then returning to let fawns to suckle. Fawns are born without scent, and for the first few weeks, does may feed and sleep a considerable distance away to reduce the chance of attracting predators.

Wildlife centres like the BC SPCA’s WildARC field numerous calls each spring from people who’ve found an “orphaned” fawn, but typically advise residents to leave it alone – the mother is likely nearby and will return once you leave.

If the fawn appears cold, weak, thin, injured, is bleating repetitively, or if the mother has not returned to a seemingly healthy fawn for more than eight hours, call WildARC. DO NOT remove the fawn on your own – if you’ve inadvertently handled the animal, rub an old towel on the grass, then gently wipe the fawn down to remove human scent.

DO keep your distance – Remember that does often act in a protective manner if you’re near a fawn – even if you can’t see it. If a doe seems to follow you, try changing direction as you may be unknowingly walking toward a hidden fawn.

DO keep your dogs close – In addition to keeping distance between you and the deer, it’s also important to keep your dog close, Kilpatrick advises. It’s important to understand that deer perceive dogs as a threat, so keeping them leashed and walking near you will help prevent unwanted interactions.

DO be alert – Whether startled by people, dogs, traffic deer often appear suddenly. Like many animals, they’re also more active at dawn and dusk, at the very time it’s more difficult to see them. Reduce your chance of colliding with a deer by slowing down and scanning ahead, especially in areas deer are known to frequent.

DO watch for fawns – As fawns grow a little older, they’ll begin foraging with their mother, but they also lack “street sense.” That means fawns can be more likely to dart into your path, not recognizing bikes or vehicles as a threat, or be more tentative. The result is unpredictable behaviour that drivers and cyclists need to do their best to predict. And remember, if you see one deer, chances are more are nearby.

Deer Management in Esquimalt

The Township of Esquimalt is working on the next steps in its deer management program, and is currently awaiting provincial permits to build on research currently underway in Oak Bay.

For information about deer management in Esquimalt, visit esquimalt.ca/government-bylaws/animal-control/deer. For more tips about living with urban deer, visit uwss.ca.

Wildlife

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read