A deer little problem

Deer are a common sight in and around Kelowna, but a herd of downtown deer has been creating a buzz lately.

A small herd of up to 12 deer has been reported in the downtown North End, around St. Paul Street, Sunset Drive, Ethel Street, Richter Street and along Clement Avenue.

Morning rush-hour traffic was brought to standstill Wednesday as a group of six deer trotted across Clement Avenue from St. Paul to the Train Station Pub – for an early morning pint perhaps.

Conservation officer Sgt. Josh Lockwood says the deer are nothing new, nothing to worry about and are here to stay.

“There are urban deer, they are here,” says Lockwood. “They are here to stay, they are not going anywhere. They are completely safe in town."

Kelowna has fewer urban deer than many communities.

“We do not have the deer population that Penticton, Grand Forks, Oak Bay have – we don't have those kinds of issues. If you drive through Grand Forks, they are in the hotel parking lots eating the flowers. They are everywhere. Kelowna doesn't really have that big an urban deer problem.”

Lockwood says off-leash dogs chasing deer can be a problem, and he wants dog owners to know their pets can be kicked or hurt in an altercation.

“They will take on dogs running off leash ... they will defend themselves. People just need to avoid them.

“People who don't want them in their yards or gardens can fence them out,” he adds. “It is the only solution there is. People call saying there is a deer in traffic, and all we can say is, 'Ya, OK, it will move.'"

Lockwood says Conservation will only get involved if there is a deer in serious danger.

“We have a deer currently running around with an arrow in it. It is a superficial wound where the arrow has gone through under the hide. The deer is not suffering, it is not bleeding, it is eating and moving normally – we are not going to go shoot it just because,” says Lockwood.

“It is like the deer with the tennis net on its antlers. It fell off, it is fine.”

He says they are getting hundreds of calls right now about deer in the city, and there's nothing they can or will do.

“We are getting hundreds of calls a month on other things we need to attend to. Deer in the community is the norm right now, everywhere in the province,” says Lockwood.

However, he warns residents to not feed the deer, or any wildlife.

“People are feeding them apples by hand and stuff and posting it on Facebook,” says Lockwood. “Everyone thinks it is so cute. It is cute, but it is not a good idea because you can get hurt.”

He says the same applies to bears, ducks and geese.

“Feeding wildlife is not a good idea, it isn't safe and it just encourages it to stay in the city.”

Lockwood says if you don't want wildlife around, don't feed them – simple as that.


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