The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society and the Township of Esquimalt remind residents to be extra cautious as they drive, cycle and explore during fawning season.

Oh, deer! 5 key ways to reduce deer-human conflict during fawning season

Slow down, stay alert and leave fawns alone!

As you stroll, bike or cruise your neighbourhood, you may well notice a few more four-legged additions to the local landscape…and often the roadways.

The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society and the Township of Esquimalt remind residents that fawning season continues through July, meaning it’s time to be extra cautious as you drive, cycle and explore.

1. If you find a fawn, leave it alone. Its mother is likely off finding food and will return. Does shelter their young from predators, leaving for long periods to forage, then returning for the fawn to suckle. For the first few weeks, she may feed and sleep a considerable distance from the fawn to reduce the chance of attracting a predator.

Wildlife rehabilitation centres field numerous calls each year from people who have found an “orphaned” fawn, but typically advise residents to leave it alone – the mother is likely nearby and will return once you leave.

2. When to call WildArc: DO call WildArc 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.

Never remove a fawn on your own. If you’ve handled the animal, rub an old towel on the grass, then gently wipe the fawn down with it to remove human scent.

3. Avoid conflict with protective deer: As you stroll your neighbourhood or walk your dog, be aware that does will often act in a protective manner if you happen to be near a fawn – even if you can’t see the young animal. DO keep dogs leashed and walking near you, and DO NOT release the leash – to the deer, a dog is a predator.

And if a doe seems to be following you, try changing direction as you may be unknowingly walking toward a hidden fawn.

4. Reduce your chance of colliding with a deer: Slow down and scan ahead – good advice for all areas populated by children, pets and urban wildlife like deer! Keep your eyes on high alert, especially at night, and remember, deer are rarely alone – others may follow behind or dart into your path. Young deer, especially fawns, may not recognize vehicles as a threat, and regardless of age, headlights can confuse and cause deer to freeze or act unpredictably.

5. If a deer collision is imminent: Brake lightly, holding the steering wheel firmly while keeping the vehicle straight. Don’t swerve to try to miss the deer – insurance adjusters say more damage and injury occurs when drivers attempt to avoid colliding with a deer and instead hit guardrails or roll down grades. Slow down in areas where you know there are deer!

To get a deer awareness sign to post in your community, contact UWSS or the Township of Esquimalt.

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