Steeves/Trail Mix: Beware of aggressive deer

As deer drop their fawns at this time of year, they can become quite protective, so be wary around your neighbourhood deer.

Naughty mule deer trashes birdbath and chews up flowers, but is at least not aggressive as some can be at this time of year.

Naughty mule deer trashes birdbath and chews up flowers, but is at least not aggressive as some can be at this time of year.


Because it was a quiet afternoon, the sudden clattering and banging outside my home office window sounded particularly loud.

I jumped up and looked into the yard at a deer trying to drink out of my bird bath in the middle of a perennial bed.

Just then, she knocked the whole thing over, but she continued nosing at it and began to eat the flowers instead.

I rushed out on the deck, thumping and yelling at her, but to no avail. She just looked at me as if I was the one who was nuts.

I’m not sure what finally made her turn away and slowly meander out of the flower bed, unless it was the sight of all those pine cones headed her way, but she did finally exit the yard, leaving a certain amount of carnage behind.

She didn’t charge me or even make any threatening moves, but according to local conservation officers, she well might have if she’d had a newborn fawn nearby who she felt needed protecting.

This is the time of year deer are dropping their fawns, and for the first few weeks, the fawns stay perfectly still while their moms go foraging for food, with the idea their presence won’t be detected. Apparently, the newborns have no smell, so don’t tend to attract predators.

Except, of course, for man, who has been known to stumble on a hidden fawn and pick it up to take it home, figuring its mother has abandoned it.

Mom has not abandoned it. She’s protecting it by keeping predators from being alerted to its presence, by leaving it alone and cautioning it to be still.

Leave wild babies alone. They’ve survived for centuries without our interference, so it would be a shame if we put a stick in the spokes of their wheels for the rest of time.

But, also be aware that does with fawns can be very aggressive. Those little hooves are very sharp and can cause a great deal of damage to an unwary human who expects a deer will naturally run away instead of turning on him.

In particular, if you have a dog with you, keep the dog under control and stay well away from deer, because they are accustomed to having to fight off coyotes and they don’t know the difference between coyotes and dogs. They could do considerable damage to your dog.

City Park-ing lot

In response to my column last week with concerns about turning City Park into an RV parking lot, one reader who was shy about submitting a letter to the editor suggested the city instead use the old high school site on Harvey near Richter, which is slated for housing, but has sat vacant for a number of years now.

She contends there should be lots of space on the site for a tourism centre, RV parking, and a housing development when someone comes along who’s interested in building it.

She agrees that it’s important City Park’s green beauty not be eroded any further to provide more asphalt.

Fishing ops

A record-sized prize lake trout was taken out of Mabel Lake last weekend during the annual fishing derby, the largest ever landed during the derby, at 19 pounds eight ounces. It was caught by Gayle Summerfelt who, ironically, was also the derby organizer. There were 280 entries in the derby with about 100 fish weighed in.

Incidentally, there’ll be a fishing derby on Okanagan Lake Sat., June 15, organized by the B.C. Sport Fishing Guide and Rodney’s Reel Outdoors, with some amazing prizes, worth more than $20,000, for the longest fish caught.

Go to the website to register at:

AND, there’ll be a youth fly fishing event put on by the young people in the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association for those under 16 to experience the fun and excitement of fly fishing on Shannon Lake in West Kelowna.

Bethany Froehlich says guides will be on hand to show you how to tie flies, cast and fish and there will be tackle and gear available. It’s Sat., June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go to for more info.

This is a terrific opportunity for young people to have fun in the outdoors and learn a new skill.

At the same time, there will be the weekly opportunity Saturdays until Father’s Day for youngsters to head to Shannon Lake and catch trout in the netted-off pond, with PSA fishing instructors and gear available that day, and with regional district staff there Sundays.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.




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