Don’t feed the deer

City of Parksville exploring a ban on feeding deer as their numbers grow.

Deer in Parksville — like this one — often look like tame, domestic pets, but experts remind people they are wild animals that shouldn’t be encouraged.

Deer in Parksville — like this one — often look like tame, domestic pets, but experts remind people they are wild animals that shouldn’t be encouraged.

Parksville is looking into banning feeding deer and bylaw options that could allow culling if deemed necessary.

Councillor Sue Powell introduced the motion to ask staff to “review and provide options for council’s consideration,” in light of the high number of deer in the urban area and the possible negative conflicts and effects.

“The less interaction between humans and wildlife the better, whether it’s with your bumper or feeding them,” said conservation officer Stewart Bates.

He said they have received 25 complaints about deer in Parksville since April 1, ranging from accidents to “there’s a deer in my yard,” which is about the same as the last few years.

While urban deer are never that afraid of humans, not having a lot of predators to worry about, he points out that they are naturally afraid of us and the best thing to do is scare them away, make your yard unappealing to them, and definitely never feed them.

Powell’s motion says, “feeding of deer facilitates habituation, which is the loss of the natural fear of humans that wild deer typically have … (and) feeding of deer can often result in real harm to both individuals and populations,” including disease transmission.

Bates points out that even though urban deer often look tame, they are wild animals that, among other issues can be aggressive with people and dogs when protecting their young and can draw in cougars to prey on them.

He said anti-feeding bylaws, like Nanaimo has, can be a useful step in reducing human-deer conflicts.

Council supported the motion and staff will now look into the options.

Parksville Qualicum Beach News