Editorial: Deer, oh deer

Urban or not, deer are wild animals

The problem of urban deer is not likely ever going away.

That’s right. “The problem.” As much as deer are lovely animals, and it’s sometimes a wonderful surprise to come across one unexpectedly, it can also be terrifying, as a Penticton resident found out recently when she and her pet were attacked on a walk.

Related: Penticton woman and dog chased by aggressive deer

Sadly, when she shared her story, partly as a warning to others about the dangers of does with fawns, she was attacked again. This time it was on social media, and even in person.

It’s a symptom of a division in communities across the province, with some staunchly defending urban deer, and others demanding they be dealt with, one way or another.

Several years ago, when Invermere tried to arrange for a cull of urban deer, a group of residents hit the village with a lawsuit. That put a chill on plans for culls across the province.

Related: Deer cull on backburner in Penticton

Culls remain unlikely, given the hoops a local government would have to jump through, not to mention local opposition. That’s not misplaced — culls are unlikely to be effective in the long-term, and killing animals needlessly is just not a good thing.

But the image of deer as kind, gentle creatures that can live in harmony with humans is just as misplaced. In the real world, these aren’t Disney characters. They are wild animals and as a prey animal, capable of defending themselves against all the other animals that see them as dinner.

That danger isn’t limited to the fall when the bucks are rutting or now, when does have their fawns. It’s just aggressively dangerous. You can’t blame the does. They have to ensure the safety of their baby.

Long-term, the best plan is one suggested by a Wildsafe co-ordinator: make it uncomfortable for the deer to hang around, making the wild more attractive than the city

But first, we have to come together on the reality that cities and wild animals really don’t mix.

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