Mule deer are becoming a common sight in and around Ashcroft backyards

Mule deer are becoming a common sight in and around Ashcroft backyards

Deer population on the rise in Ashcroft

Deer numbers starting to make an impact in Ashcroft.

Deer are becoming more noticeable in Ashcroft neighbourhoods this year, especially on the Mesa which backs onto Crown and ranchlands. Several residents have reported regular sightings of deer over the past few months.

Coun. Helen Kormendy voiced her concerns about it at the Nov. 10 Council meeting, saying a number of people had approached her about the local deer population.

Deer becoming habituated to populated areas is a problem in many communities, she said. Besides the destruction they cause to property, causing traffic accidents and their potential to injure humans and domestic pets, their presence divides communities: Some people provide food for them and enjoy having the animals on their property, while others recognize that they are a wild animal with potentially destructive habits. A safe and plentiful food supply will increase the local population, as it does with all animals.

“I had two very, very healthy deer in my backyard,” she said. “I usually have from two to seven.”

They have no predators, said Kormendy, so they’re everywhere.

She said that people have told her they are replacing their fences with higher ones in the hopes of keeping the deer out.

Some towns have initiated culls when the deer population gets out of control. Culls often create a backlash of public opinion and the BCSPCA issued a position statement on Urban Deer in 2011 and how to deal with them.

Mayor Andy Anderson suggested they leave the issue on the table for the next Council to work on.

Anderson said he hasn’t seen an acceptable solution for reducing the number of deer in a community once they become a problem.

“We need to talk to other communities and find out how they deal with it,” he said.

“My challenge is they’re domesticated,” said Kormendy. “I can stand this far (20 feet) from them, clap my hands, and they just twitch their ears.”