Mating season is nigh: Tread warily

Bucks are a feudin' a-fussin' and a-fightin' this time of year.

  • Sep. 23, 2015 1:00 p.m.

For the Townsman

It’s that time of year when a young buck’s fancy turns to thoughts of …

Love ’em or hate ’em, Cranbrook’s urban deer herd is very much with us, with all their behavioural patterns, and we must adapt.

In this spirit, the City of Cranbrook is advising residents and visitors to exercise both caution and common sense this fall, as the autumn deer mating period — the fall rut — begins.

In the weeks leading up to the rut (into November and December) bucks increase their displays of dominance and indirect threats. A dominant buck typically circles a rival with deliberate steps; back arched, head low and tail flicking. Bucks can also display dominance by violently thrashing the bushes with their antlers.

“We are into a transition period, where some does with fawns may remain wary and potentially aggressive toward humans with dogs,” says Chris Zettel, Corporate Communications Officer for the City of Cranbrook. “Now we may also see an increase in activity from the local urban buck population.”

Getting up in the deers’ faces comes with its perils at any time — but especially now.

“Please give deer plenty of space to move or leave the area. Please do not walk closer to the deer; try and find another route.” Zettel said.

Any acts of deer aggression where public safety is at risk should be reported. The City of Cranbrook and the provincial Conservation Officer Service each keep track of these instances of aggression.

To report an incident to the Conservation Officer Service, please call 1-877-952-7277. To report an incident to the City of Cranbrook, please call 250-426-4211 or email urbandeer@cranbrook.ca.

The City of Cranbrook has an information brochure, “Living with Urban Deer”, which is available for pick up at City Hall or by downloading a copy from the City’s website – www.cranbrook.ca.