Check for food sources to prevent urban deer

The City of Penticton asks residents to remove as many food sources for urban deer from their homes and yards as possible, to prevent the attraction of deer during the current shift in seasonal migratory patterns.

"This is the time of year that non-resident mule deer travel in search of food, which is why some residents might be seeing more animals in the urban environment," said Mayor Dan Ashton. "We encourage everyone to make sure there are no obvious sources of food in their yard that might draw deer into residential areas."

With additional snowfall at higher elevations, some deer herds have travelled down from rural areas to more urban residential segments of the community in search of food. Council adopted a bylaw last year that prohibits the active feeding of deer within the City of Penticton - considered to be a large contributing factor that sees an increase in the urban deer population. The bylaw states that no one is to provide deer with food by intentionally leaving food, food waste or other attractive edible material intended for the sole purpose of feeding deer.

The City of Penticton has been implementing as many urban deer management strategies as possible in the last year. Staff conducted two separate counts of urban deer under the guidance of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Management - the provincial ministry responsible for wildlife management issues. Follow-up deer counts are also likely to occur, as this valuable information assists the ministry in determining the seasonal habits of deer and pinpointing problem areas in the City. Municipalities are waiting for the outcome of a court case currently underway in Invermere regarding deer population management practices. In the interim, municipalities are focusing their efforts on public consultation based on the request of the provincial government.

"The City of Penticton has been forced into a holding pattern until the legal case in Invermere is resolved and the courts provide direction on the requirements for managing urban deer populations," said Ashton. "The Invermere case will set precedence for municipalities like us on how the urban deer issue can be addressed."

The City encourages residents to report sightings of urban deer by emailing urbandeer@penticton.ca or calling 250-490-2400. You can learn more about urban mule deer by visiting the Urban Deer Management page.