Killing Bambi: What to Do When Deer Are Dangerous
Bambi is adorable, but that does not mean pets or people are safe around her mother or, in rutting season, her dad. British Columbia has had a string of deer attacks. Here are the most publicized:
- June 2010 – a cat in Cranbrook, B.C., is curious about a fawn, but it is a nearby dog that gets tromped by the little one’s mother
- July 2010 – a newspaper carrier in Cranbrook, B.C. is head butted and stomped; his wife is saved from a group of deer when a passing motorist rescues her
- July 2010 – a woman and her dog in Saanich, B.C. are stomped by a protective doe
- June 2011 – a deer with a fawn stomps a woman in her Kimberley, B.C. yard
The attacks are not surprising. First we move into their habitat. Then we trap or shoot them when they lose their fear of us and stomp us or our pets if we venture too near their offspring or between a buck and his doe.
Verified reports of deer attacks are less common than the fear of them, but there is no denying the animals are a wild card when they feel at home in residential areas. So Cranbrook, B.C. requested, and received, provincial approval to cull its deer. Their target for this year is 25 “problem” deer. Others will be relocated. They also propose to train border collies to scare off aggressive mothers or rutting males. Other communities are watching to see if Cranbrook solves its deer problem.
Just how effective their actions will be is unclear. As long as humans build their houses in deer habitat and lure them back with vegetable and flower gardens, the deer will keep coming. Most of the time, humans and deer will be a minor nuisance to each other. But in fawning and rutting seasons, the deer will be far more willing to face down human or animal threats.
Put yourself in the shoes, or paws, of those feeling threatened by deer. How would you deal with the situation?
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