Your Wildlife Habitat

Living With Deer

Deer are so graceful and picturesque that many people just can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to welcome them to their property. Unfortunately, any enjoyment can soon turn to annoyance when the deer have munched all your lovely shrubs and perennials and are making inroads into your vegetable garden too.

Perhaps you didn’t realize that intentionally feeding deer can be part of the problem. It will cause the deer to become habituated to humans and expect handouts. If this doesn’t create problems for you, it may cause problems for your neighbours. Even if you don’t mind your neighbours may not feel the same. If you like deer, it’s best to let them be wild and find natural foods and appropriate shelter on their own. Feeding deer can endanger the animal’s life because where there are people there are cars.

Many folks who live in the country have had a collision with a deer and found out just how expensive the damage can be. An excess of deer can also result in huge economic losses for those who grow crops for their livelihood. An average-sized deer eats 6 – 8 lbs. (3 – 4 kg.) of plant material daily. So, what can we do to reduce the negative impact of deer on our properties? It is us humans, after all, who have encroached upon their habitat.

Living With Deer is a fact sheet published by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. It explains how to prevent conflicts with deer and how to deal with conflicts when they arise.

Tips to Reduce Your Collision Risk, published by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, suggests some good regular habits you should acquire when driving in the country.

When White-tailed Deer Become a Nuisance is an excellent, printable information sheet published by the government of Nova Scotia recommending scare devices, repellents and fencing.

Vertebrate Pest Management is an information sheet published by OMAFRA to assist producers who are experiencing damage on their farms. It contains information about fencing, repellents and scare devices.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is responsible for managing deer in Ontario. The MNRF website explains white-tailed deer management in Ontario.

Please Don’t Feed the Deer is a fact sheet about deer, published by the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program. It tells you why supplemental feeding is harmful to deer, how to landcape for deer, and it provides fencing options, deterrents and repellents.

Deer Removal Permits are available to registered farmers who are experiencing costly damage on their properties and who meet specific criteria.

Hunting: Sometimes there is such an excess of deer that you may want to consider inviting licensed hunters onto your property. It is your right to define the terms under which this access is permissible and to determine whether the appropriate liability insurance is in place. A local representative from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters may be able to guide you to licensed hunters in your area. Be sure to read about the Occupiers’ Liability Act and the Trespass to Property Act to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has excellent information and advice for farmers on Trespass and Occupiers Liability. Download the Landowner’s Permission to Hunt Form from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters website.