Sparwood, like many other communities in the Elk Valley, has a steadily increasing deer population that resides mainly within town boundaries

These deer are not only becoming more abundant, but they are increasingly comfortable around humans. In November of 2011, Council took a proactive approach by implementing the Deer Feeding and Wildlife Attractants Bylaw to reduce conflicts between deer and humans by prohibiting the feeding or attracting of deer.  Conflicts include damage to gardens and landscaping, high rates of deer vehicle collisions, aggressive behaviour towards humans and pets, and the potential transmission of disease to humans and livestock as deer carry a variety of ticks.

Deer are herd animals for the winter months and become more solitary when they have and raise their young (mid May through till October).  Breeding season, known as the rut, is in November and bucks may become more unpredictable as they compete for the right to breed.  As herbivores, they have many natural predators and as such have developed keen senses to ensure their survival.  A deer’s hearing is acute and their ability to articulate their ears allows them to pinpoint the sounds of any approaching predators.  More information on deer can be found on the WildSafeBC website.

How You Can Manage Your Deer Attractants

Deer are especially hard to remove from a neighbourhood once they have established themselves, so it is important to ensure that the deer do not become comfortable in your yard as they can attract predatory animals such as bears, cougars and wolves.

  • Do not feed deer.  You are not helping them out in the long run.  Deer have plenty of natural foods in the wilds and keeping them there will prevent the need to deal with a deer ‘problem’ in your neighbourhood at some later date. 
  • Take away the welcome mat.  Make your yard unattractive to deer by trimming back any cover that they might use while travelling or bedding.
  • Motion activated lights and sprinklers, if used randomly, help to dissuade deer from using your yard.
  • Vegetable gardens should be fenced to exclude deer and other wildlife. 
  • Chase deer from your property whenever they appear and they will learn that your property is not worth the effort.  But remember that it is illegal for you or your dog to injure deer.
Deer Safety Tips

Deer are normally timid animals but if they become habituated to humans they can become a danger.  Although attacks are rare they do occur and, despite their appearance, deer can inflict serious injuries.

  • Never approach a deer, especially if it has young with it.
  • If a deer does attack you – try to stay upright as they inflict injury by striking at their opponent with their sharp hooves.  Cover your head with your arms and back off to some form of shelter.
  • Pets have been attacked and killed by deer.  Usually these attacks are a defensive response to a small dog or cat approaching the deer’s young.
  • Deer may signal an impending attack by laying their ears back and lowering their head.

Call the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service toll free at 1.877.952.7277 to report any deer acting aggressively or causing property damage