According to Wildsafe B.C., deer eat grass, shrubs and woody plants.

News Views: Oh, deer

Deer are a common site in rural areas of Maple Ridge.

A young deer wanders into traffic on 232nd Street near Yennadon elementary, looking over its shoulder at others eating tall grass on the side of the road while parents walk and drive their children to school.

One man stretched out a hand as if to pet the larger of the four deer as he walked along the sidewalk, near children, but jerked it back when the ungulate flinched.

Deer are a common site in rural areas of Maple Ridge, especially Silver Valley, where a spotted fawn was recently struck by a vehicle along 132 Avenue. Other times deer scamper across Fern Crescent to the surprise of motorists.

Such is life in the ever-expanding suburbs.

Regardless of who was there first, this relationship exists, as we, as humans, would be wise to understand our neighbours.

According to Wildsafe B.C., deer eat grass, shrubs and woody plants. They have a four-chambered stomach, making them ruminants. They can partially digest complex carbohydrates that other mammals cannot. This means that almost all vegetation is available to deer as a food source.

They travel alone or in small groups.

They breed in late fall.

Fawning is from the end of May through June.

Also, once deer get settled in a neighbourhood, it’s difficult to remove them.

Besides being destructive to landscaping and vehicles, deer can transport ticks, can harm pets (particularly dogs), and attract large predators.

Some helpful tips:

• put fencing around gradens and fruit trees;

• do not feed deer;

• chase them away;

• do not try to pet them.

According to Wildsafe B.C., you should never approach deer, especially those with young as they may attack. Laying their ears back and lowering their head can be signs of an impending attack.

If you are attacked by a deer, try to stay upright, cover your head with your arms and move to shelter.

Leave fawns alone. If you come across fawns while out hiking or biking – or walking to school – do not touch them. Back away. Does will hide their young while they feed, returning occasionally to nurse. By disturbing the fawn, you greatly decrease its chance of survival.

It is illegal for you or your dog to injure a deer.

Few live more than eight to 10 years.

Deer are no doubt beautiful, but like all wildlife, and all neighbours, they deserve respect, and space.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News