Invermere’s Eileen Madson Primary School will be providing students with more education on how to deal with deer, after one of the animals got too close to students last week.
Paul Carriere, superintendent for School District 6, says students have gone outside for recess and found deer on the school field three times in the last several months.
While playground supervisors have normally been able to shoo the deer away with little fuss, on February 9 one deer refused to be run off by adults.
“There were I think three deer on the field. I guess two of them moved up the bank and off the field when the children came onto the playground, and one deer didn’t. It sort of stayed on the field,” explains Carriere.
“And when kids are out there during recess they’re holding things. There were kids holding apples, vegetables, things like that. And the deer started to approach kids, looking like it wanted to be fed.”
Principal Lisa Tenta tried to chase the deer off “and it was not bothered by that. It continued to approach, and what she did was take all the students and put them inside for recess as a safety precaution,” he says.
The district has been in contact with the conservation officer service since the incident, and Carriere says they’ve been advised to call back and bring an officer out should another deer behave the same way.
“He indicated it is not uncommon for deer to behave this way when they’ve been hand fed, and it’s obviously a concern,” says Carriere. “But from our perspective it’s a matter of educating the children about not approaching the deer, not getting close to it. So there’s an education piece.”
From now on, Tenta will be on the field prior to recess, “just making sure the coast is clear,” and if another incident arises, students will again go back indoors for their break.
“We’re not anticipating any major issues around it, but we won’t hesitate to involve the Conservation Officer if there are any problems,” Carriere adds.
So far, no other schools have reported confrontations with Invermere’s deer, through Carriere suspects it’s not the first time the animals have wandered onto district property.
“I expect that given the number of deer around that there will be deer on school property and people are just dealing with it. But this one was a little bit more of a concern.”