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Urban Deer

Any wild animal is best enjoyed from a distance, and left to do their thing. This is especially important to remember for deer.

Sharing a town: people and wildlife together
Here's some quick tips on living with (and enjoying) our Saskatchewan wildlife:

  • Do not feed wildlife. They become dependent on it, and learn habits that can harm them or cause conflicts with people.
  • Keep your distance when you spot wildlife. Giving them room reduces the chance of conflict.
  • Always keep your pets leashed and under control.
  • Pick up after your pet. Cleaning up waste helps keep your pet and wildlife healthy. It also reduces wildlife being attracted to the area by the food source.
  • Secure your property: remove any food, dispose of garbage and compost in bins.

How can you help reduce urban deer? 

  • Do not feed deer. They have ample food supply in the wild, and supplementing this natural food supply not only attracts and holds deer in the area but can trigger an unsustainable population increase.
  • Fence off your fruit trees and gardens - see the White City Zoning Bylaw for fencing regulations.
  • Keep shrubs and other plans trimmed. Deer require cover to safely travel through communities and bed down. 
  • Use motion-activated lights and sprinklers to startle deer and dissuade them from coming into your yard. They are seeking a safe haven, and avoid places that have proven to be stressful in the past.
  • Avoid having fruit trees in your yard.  If you do have fruit trees, trim lower branches to discourage deer from feeding and remove all windfalls from your yard promptly.
  • In winter, cover shrubs and trees with burlap or plastic sheeting.  This creates a barrier that prevents deer from browsing in your yard.
  • Plant less palatable species: deer have an aversion to blue spruce, juniper or paper birch bushes, and certain perennials like mint and columbine.  Consult your local nursery to discuss regional options.

Try these 5 tips to discourage & prevent Deer from hanging out in your Yard 

  • Spray them with your garden hose from a safe distance; make loud noises (e.g. banging pans/aluminum cans; open/close an umbrella; waving & clapping hands while shouting.
  • Remove attractants such as crab apples, Halloween pumpkins, bird seed, etc.
  • Use scare tactics such as mobile yard ornaments or scarecrows.
  • Try chemical deterrents such as blood meal or Plant Skydd.
  • Plant deer-resistant plant species; consult your local nursery to discuss regional options.

Consequences of Urban Deer

  • Overcrowding and increased incidence of disease in animal populations can be linked to feeding. Ticks can be passed to humans in close contact with infected animals.
  • Butting or pawing of persons by over-anxious deer has occurred in other municipalities, resulting in human injury, particularly to small children and pets
  • High populations of deer may attract predators, like cougars, into populated areas.

Avoid Deer Conflict

Although deer aren’t considered dangerous, they can act aggressively toward people and dogs to protect themselves or their fawns. Here are some strategies to reduce the chance of deer-human conflict:

  • Never feed deer. Feeding deer can cause them to associate people with food; they can act aggressively when hungry. Reliance on unnatural food sources poses challenges for deer in the winter when food sources are less abundant, increasing aggression. 
  • Deter deer from your yard. Plant unpalatable species, remove bird feeders, use tree guards, rake up crab apples (or remove fruit trees altogether). If deer sleep in your yard, place objects randomly like patio furniture to disrupt sleeping areas. Don’t let your dog chase deer out of your yard as this may encourage aggression.
  • Give deer their space. Deer may act aggressively if threatened. When walking, cycling, etc., change your course to give deer as much room as possible. When driving in the presence of deer, slow down.
  • Keep dogs on leash. Unleashed dogs often chase/scare deer causing them to run into traffic or encourage aggression. If a deer approaches a dog on leash, back away and seek an alternate route. Don’t attach your dog leash to yourself.
  • Behaviours to Watch For. If deer feel threatened, their ears will be back and they will stomp their feet and sometimes snort.