With deer being a part of the biodiversity landscape in Okotoks, the Town and residents need to work together to adopt strategies to discourage deer from eating and inhabiting yards in our community. By being unified in our behaviours and actions toward deer deterrent strategies, the urban deer population can remain at tolerable levels.
Since the last deer survey in 2018, the Town assembled an Urban Deer Task Force (UDTF). The Task Force brought forward several short-term recommendations in their final report in May 2021; the Town has implemented the following:
- The Deer and Wildlife Feed and Attractants Bylaw was implemented in July 2021 to regulate the intentional and unintentional feeding of deer and other wildlife on private property.
- Enhanced education including a free online course: “Gardening with Urban Deer,” and a consultation service where a Town representative will visit a residence and provide methods and plants to reduce damage and deter deer. The Town will continue throughout the year to support public education and provide new educational materials being developed through our website, social media, newspaper ads, etc.
- Working closely with Fish and Wildlife to connect adjacent agricultural landowners interested in permitting hunting opportunities on their property
Learn more: Short-term UDTF Recommendations
The Town is currently looking into implementing the following long-term recommendations.
- The Deer Deterrent Fencing Pilot Program launched in April 2021. Project recommendations will be brought to Council this spring based on two years of data and input from this public participation opportunity.
- The Town commissioned a wildlife consultant to propose what a deer aversion control program could look like in Okotoks. The Deer Aversion and Control Program Report was presented to Council October 11, 2022 and it was accepted as information at this time until short-term tactics have had more time to show their effectiveness.
To review the UDTF final report, get details on the fencing pilot program or learn more about deer in Okotoks, visit Urban Deer.