It’s that time of year when we are reminded that depending on where we live, we share our space with many wild animals especially if living in smaller provincial British Columbia cities. While staying in the Kootenays during spring it was quite usual to be walking or driving and see wild animals, especially deer, throughout the city. Here are some tips on how to keep these ungulates out of the vegetable garden, the strawberry patch and the flower beds – especially the roses and tulips!
Here are a few ideas to deter deer
… and to keep human / wildlife interaction around your home to a minimum – and out of the vegetable patch
- First, is the obvious, fence your property (or part thereof), vegetable garden or trees – a high “deer proof” fence along with strips of orange tape to prevent animals walking into the fence – see photo below
- Grow plants they do not like – here’s a list but no guarantees!
- Deer usually don’t like strong-smelling herbs such as sage or fuzzy leafed plants
- If you have water running through your property, or a pond, that will also attract wildlife
- Strong smelling items like soap and garlic may deter deer
- Motion detector sprinklers may frighten them away from garden beds – temporarily
- Commercial repellant products may work (usually have to be re-applied after rain)
- There are many homemade repellant concoctions online you may wish to try
- Research indicates that coyote or wolf urine, purchased from a hunting supply store also works
- A combination of these precautions should keep deer out of the garden most of the time!
- A high fenced vegetable garden, inside a fenced property with a large dog sounds like a good solution
- Note: In a severe winter with deep snow deer will eat just about any vegetation to survive
Wild Animal Cautions
- Do not feed wild animals, ever. It may seem like a kind action but it can be unsafe and is probably illegal where you live.
- When driving highways and byways especially at dawn or dusk be super observant of wild life feeding at the side of roads and unexpectedly running across – slow down when you see wildlife and stay in your car if you have to stop
- If walking or camping in the bush, be particularly careful of food, pets and other attractants, and always keep an eye on children
- Many wild animals, especially with young, do not like domestic dogs and this can cause the deer, or bear, to attack in self-defence
- It is wise to always remember that no matter how cute animals look especially when they have young, that they can and will attack if they feel threatened or cornered
The interaction between wild life and humans (and industry) is an ever-increasing problem as their habitat declines and controls of any sort are, and will continue to be controversial.
- We are used to seeing raccoon and deer on the West Coast, including walking along the shoreline, but an adult doe munching on the hedge a few feet from the house was somewhat unusual. She bedded down in the side yard for the afternoon so obviously felt “safe”.
- The Kootenay garden in the pictures is well established, for 20 years, and the deer proof fence has protected the vegetable patch during that time – although the deer walk beside it often
- During the winter we have seen small (and large) herds of elk by the side of the road in the outskirts of the town.
- Recently on a return road trip to Vancouver there were many sightings of deer, bear, coyote and two moose along and running across the highway.
Links & References
- Recently a lady was seriously injured while trying to protect her two pet dogs when she was attacked by a doe, with fawn. The deer was destroyed.
- What is the most common species of wild animal killed on British Columbia highways? In 2002, deer represented about 77% of the wild animals killed on British Columbia highways. Over the last 10 years, about 80% of wildlife collisions involved deer. From B.C. Ministry of Transport
- Information on Mule and Black tailed deer in B.C.
- Support a habitat conservation organization for environment and wild animals such as . . . . .Nature Trust of B.C.
- Updated October, 2016