Expect Deer

Visitors to Comox are often happily surprised to see deer wandering through our parks, greenways, streets and even private yards.

Please observe our warning signs, expect deer, and drive carefully.

Comox residents may be less welcoming of deer, particularly if the deer have been eating their way through gardens or orchards.

Here are some thoughts about deer behaviour, and suggestions for dealing with troublesome deer in ways that do not hurt them:

  • Substitute unsavoury plants for desirable ones, or plant edibles on the outside of your garden. An adult deer eats at least 3 kg of vegetation daily. They need protein so they prefer legumes and sweet plants in rich well fertilized soil. Berries, grains & fruit are also favourites.
  • Deer trust their noses, are curious, rely on habit, listen, and communicate with each other. In a non-threatening environment (like Comox) they quickly learn that they are safe, and make themselves at home.
  • Design your garden to discourage deer by creating uninviting entryways, and providing no view or landing sites (to fence leapers). Mix preferred plant types with undesirable ones. Consider using xeriscape landscaping (drought resistant plants) which generally are undesirable to deer.
  • Be tidy and keep edible materials picked up (for instance fallen fruit).
  • Deterrents to deer include foul smells (soap, hair, garlic, rotten eggs, and commercial compounds), movement (flags, scarecrows, or motion sensitive sprayers), floodlights or sounds (please be sensitive to your neighbours), and fencing (adult deer can jump a 2 metre high fence if they want to). Remember that deer learn quickly that these deterrents are not really dangerous, so they only work for a while.
  • Be considerate of your neighbours. Don’t use deterrents that irritate them more than the deer, and don’t attract the deer to your neighbourhood by leaving out food. Please remember that food will not only attract deer, but other animals, even less desirable.

When White-Tailed Deer Become a Nuisance