Deer in Oak Bay
Deer in Oak Bay
Effective management of deer in our neighbourhoods remains a priority for the District of Oak Bay as it does for many of our residents. We continue to work on a responsible and effective long-term response with the community. We are making progress.
Oak Bay Council has taken an active leadership role in addressing the challenges of living with deer in partnership with the Province and the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS). The UWSS is a non-profit citizen-led group that works with independent, expert wildlife scientists and veterinarians to focus on a scientific and evidence-based approach to deer population management.
In 2016, Oak Bay Council signed onto the provincial urban deer cost-share research program with the UWSS. This multi-step program has been unfolding across our community over the past 18 months and consists of public education, data collection and analysis - with the goal of better understanding population numbers, deer ecology and movement of the deer population. To date, 20 does have been GPS collared and tagged in cooperation with wildlife veterinarians, and there are 39 camera traps deployed across Oak Bay. Beyond this foundational work, administration of an immuno-contraceptive to the doe population is planned this fall.
Over time, immuno-contraction is projected to slow population growth and the data collected will provide important insight about the population of deer that we are striving to manage as a community.
Council remains committed to providing leadership that strikes an important balance between quality of life and an effective method of deer population control that is publicly-acceptable, cost-effective and has proven long-term success. The work of the UWSS and associated experts is building an important foundation of science-based knowledge to guide our decision-making.
UWSS Research Project Update
Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society presented to Council at their meeting held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. This research gives us a definitive, and scientifically accurate number of ~100 deer in Oak Bay, however, they are not spread evenly throughout the District. You can access the full progress report here.
Tips for Living with Wildlife and Reducing Risks of Conflict
We coexist with many species of wildlife here in the District of Oak Bay, from bees & birds, to raccoons, deer, and the occasional cougar. Bees, birds and bats are welcome wildlife within our neighbourhoods, partly because they help with pollination and insect control. But deer also provide important ecosystem services within our municipal environment, including:
- pruning, which stimulates plant growth
- decreasing fire risk
- dispersal of native plants
However, deer can also undo the efforts of avid gardeners, and deer behaviour can be unpredictable during spring fawning and the fall rut. The best way to avoid potential conflict with deer is to avoid attracting them in the first place. We recommend:
- don’t feed deer: don’t leave food out for deer, keep pet food indoors, clean up fallen fruit & birdseed, selective deer-resistant planting
- prevent access: repair holes in fencing, use garden barriers around accent plants or fruit trees, repellents, noisemakers, and scarecrows all dissuade use of your yard
- supervise pets: keep your cats inside, and your dogs with you and on a short leash
These suggestions will discourage deer from using your yard for food or bedding down, thus decreasing the likelihood of a negative interaction for you, your pets, or your children. Let’s keep all the residents of Oak Bay safe and happy.
More Information and Additional Resources:
For more information on Oak Bay's Deer Management Program and general information on Urban Deer:
For general information on urban deer and other wildlife:
UWSS Urban Deer flyer
Being followed by a deer:
Finding an injured deer: