The town is offering help for Okotokians whose yards are a hotspot for deer.
They’ve started a pilot project wherein parks staff will visit your property to assess it and give recommendations on how to make it less alluring to the urban deer population.
It’s the latest effort from the town to curb aggression from deer, which has also included the formation of the Urban Deer Task Force and the deer fencing pilot.
Urban Forest Parks Technician with the town, Gordon White, says there are some common elements that attract deer, namely food.
“People might want to feed the birds but may be unintentionally feeding the deer. If bird feed is within reach that they can get it, we’d want to raise the feeders higher. Frequently clean below the feeder, because birds are in there or the wind blows, and it spills out into the ground. People might be attracting them without recognizing it.”
Plants are a big one, and White says they’re looking into plant species that tend to deter deer, or at least don’t draw them in.
He says they also sometimes hang around comfy spots.
“Some yards, if they’ve got heavy cover, lots of vegetation, they might use those areas as cover, as a resting spot.”
Though the town often shares reading material and tips on keeping deer away, the goal of the pilot is to offer a more direct way for locals to ask questions and get advice specific to their homes.
With deer being provincially regulated, White explains these kinds of programs are some of the most direct ways the town can address local issues with deer; by getting residents on board and actively contributing to an atmosphere that isn’t so welcoming to deer.
The town is also working on some longer-term goals, and are currently looking to work with a wildlife expert for recommendations on things like a hazing program.
For those interested in taking part in the pilot, more information is available on the town’s website.