Residents living in neighbourhoods frequented by deer are advised not to take their dogs for walks where those deer have been seen, because does with fawns can behave very aggressively toward dogs.
Conservation officer Terry Myroniuk says there were a couple of complaints this week from Mission-area residents regarding aggressive deer threatening or attacking their dogs.
At least one of the aggressive deer was a doe with two very small fawns.
In both cases, people successfully intervened, but he warned that—despite their apparent shyness and big gentle eyes—deer are still wild animals. They have very sharp hooves and they will defend their space.
In order to protect both your dog and yourself, he suggested not taking your dog for a walk in areas you have seen deer.
Does are dropping their fawns at this time of year and the first few weeks are the most critical for those young ones.
“The moms are much more protective when their fawns are very young. Right now they can be the shaky-legged little ones that are only a few hours old, or fawns that are just a few days old, and that’s when the does can be especially aggressive,” commented Myroniuk.
Because dogs closely resemble the deer’s most common predators, wolves and coyotes, deer are really skittish about them, he said.
A heightened awareness about the possibility of an attack is wise if you frequent deer habitat.
There’s a good population of deer in most areas of Kelowna, he said and lots of them in residential areas, particularly near parks.
It’s likely the deer moms realize there are fewer coyotes and cougars in the city, so they feel protected here, once they have become habituated to being around people, he added.
As well, he said they have had to deal with a couple of instances of people picking up fawns they believe have been orphaned.
Leave them be, he warns.
The doe will be back to collect her baby.
He also advised that cougars have been sighted along hiking trails in the Okanagan, so be aware.