Steeves/Trail Mix: more deer in yards than in wild

As hunting season opens this week, many hunters are seeing more wild game in their own backyards than in Okanagan forests.

Urban deer of all ages munch on local gardens.

Urban deer of all ages munch on local gardens.

It’s frustrating for Okanagan hunters to go out hunting for the day, only to come home and find there are deer and bears and quail roaming all over their own backyards—some of them legal to shoot, but not in a residential neighbourhood.

Not only do I see deer of all ages in my yard nearly every day, but now I’m also seeing bears almost every day, and I’d much rather not. Sure, I chase most of them out when I catch them, but they still keep coming back or they wander by in the middle of the road, often in full daylight.

I’m reliant on some of my neighbours to stop putting out their garbage all week for the bears to snack on.

Incidentally, if you plan a hunt in the Cherryville area, you’re asked to save your deer heads, minus antlers, from MU 8-23 and drop them off for sampling at Frank’s General Store at Sugar Lake Road and Highway 6 in Cherryville in the marked freezer.

Provincial wildlife officials will test for Bovine Tuberculosis and Chronic Wasting Disease, both diseases which are not believed to be in B.C., but that area is believed to be at the highest risk for TB.

Be sure to fill out the tag provided with all the information requested so your sample is useful in this monitoring program. For more information on the disease, go to:

This lovely summer heat is also frustrating for any hunters who plan to hunt locally, but soon it will start to be much cooler at least in the morning and evening, and the forecast is for cooler weather to begin next week.

Even now, just after sunrise, there’s heavy dew at higher elevations and cooler temperatures, but it warms up quickly during the day.

The heavy rains of last week have really helped create a healthy mushroom crop. I saw all sorts of shaggy manes and meadow mushrooms out in the forest around the valley this week.

If you are interested in learning more about how to identify wild mushrooms you should join one of Roseanne Van Ee’s mushroom safaris Oct. 12, 13, 16, 19, 20 or 23, or arrange a private tour for a group of eight or more on another day in that time frame. Her tours are in the Mabel Lake area, where the mushroom hunting is phenomenal.

For details, go to

As the kokanee begin their annual spawning run into local creeks, take your family to the Kokanee Salmon Festival Sat., Sept. 14 at Hardy Falls Regional Park in Peachland and Sun., Sept. 22 at Mission Creek Regional Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There’ll be lots of activities and entertainment for all ages and it’s free.

The Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park hosts its annual Fall Harvest Fair Sat., Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in West Kelowna.

There’ll be tours of the historic farm, refreshments and entertainment and you can purchase freshly-picked nuts from the nut orchard, including many unusual varieties, all delicious.

Local artists will be displaying their work, and there’ll farmer’s produce as well.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.



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