Bear Aware: Bear sightings down, deer sightings on the rise

There have been very few bear sightings reported in to the RAPP line the last few weeks.

There have been very few bear sightings reported in to the RAPP line the last few weeks and so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about a more prevalent animal in the valley. You guessed it, deer!

There are two species of deer in the valley — mule deer and white-tailed deer. The main differences between the two are: white-tailed deer, as their name suggests, have a white patch underneath their tail, while mule deer have slim black-tipped tails and large mule-like ears.

The most common deer seen in Invermere are mule deer. Only bucks (males) grow antlers and, as you can see, the antlers are getting quite large on many of the bucks around town. Rutting season, also called mating season, is from October to January. During this time bucks show increased displays of dominance. This includes circling rivals with deliberate steps, arched back, low head and flickering tail; marking areas with urine; and rubbing scent from antlers on trees and bushes. The bucks will also engage in head fights where the winner will breed with the doe (female).  This time of year it’s especially important to keep your distance from deer, bucks in particular as they are far more aggressive. Keep all dogs on leash and if you are charged by a deer let go of the leash and defend yourself by obtaining any rocks or sticks nearby. Whenever possible try to go into a building or behind a structure. It’s also important to note that, same as bears, deer are attracted to food in our yard such as birdfeed, fruit trees, and also garbage. Of course, even grass is a deer attractant but limiting other food for deer will cause their population to decrease.

Visit www.env.gov.bc.ca and search for information on deterring deer and deer-resistant plants. It is also important to note that if you have been charged by a deer or have noticed an aggressive deer, to call it into the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. If you have any questions on managing deer attractants please call the WildSafe Co-ordinator at 250-688-0561.