The deer population in the community appears to be at a peak this winter. Sightings have become increasingly common in our streets and backyards. Despite their familiarity with the ebb and flow of our community, residents are urged to keep in mind that deer are wild animals and should be treated as such. In order to avoid the potential for human-wildlife conflicts and to ensure the safety of residents, Alberta Fish & Wildlife make the following suggestions:
- Always keep your distance from any wildlife.
- Deer can become surprisingly aggressive in protecting themselves and their young. They will attack both people (adults and children) and pets, (leashed or not). Waterton Park is a great example of habituated deer, people attacks, and countless dogs attacked (great videos are available on Youtube if you think they can’t be vicious).
- Never approach fawns that have been temporarily left alone by their mothers.
- Never feed the deer. Deer can feed themselves, and leaving out salt blocks, grain or scraps to attract deer may also attract the larger carnivores that prey on deer.
- Wildlife feeding on human food not only prevents wildlife from getting nutrition from natural food sources, it teaches wildlife to associate people with food. This can lead to problematic, even dangerous, situations that may result in human injury and/or wildlife being destroyed. In addition, a deer’s digestive system is not designed for our foods which are full of white flour, sugars, additives etc. Although the deer eat it, these foods are not good for them.
- Never feed any kind of wildlife. Feeding or leaving fallen bird seed or salt licks that attract wildlife to your property will, in turn, attract cougars and other predators. Deer that get food from unnatural sources such as your yard tend to become slower and more docile, making them easier prey for cougars. Cougars may be more likely to enter human-use areas if the deer there are easier to catch.
- For more information, visit http://srd.alberta.ca/FishWildlife/HumanWildlifeConflict/Default.aspx and check www.redwoodmeadows.ab.ca for additional information on living with wildlife in our community.