Doe and Two Fawns
Believe it or not, the white-tailed deer, our common species of deer, is not native to Nova Scotia.
Deer numbers in Nova Scotia have an interesting history – they were introduced in the late 1800s, and their numbers climbed quite quickly. Unfortunately, the deer carry a disease that they do not succumb to, but which is fatal to Moose. As deer numbers rose, the numbers of moose, particularly on the mainland, diminished rapidly.
Deer populations reached their peak in the 1970s and 1980s and then went down, but have rebounded to where now deer are nearing what biologists would like to see for Provincial numbers.
There is however a two pronged issue with deer in Nova Scotia:
First, the deer are not evenly spread throughout the Province. As DNR reports: “For various reasons there is a higher density in the western end than in Cape Breton, which is in direct contrast with the situation in the late 1980s.”
Secondly, deer are very adaptable animals, and with an increase in human population in NS, there is much more building going on, and so the deer are pushed out of what once was their preferred edge habitat, and into what is now residential areas, where the deer live in the green spaces like parks and undeveloped lots. This means that deer are much more frequently in contact with humans, and the deer then begin to lose their fear of humans and this leads to things like more deer deaths due to having to search out food, or worse, because people feed them, being lured directly onto a place where vehicle/deer collisions are unavoidable.
Deer are beautiful animals to be sure, but they need our help to maintain the population. As in most instances, people should not be feeding any wildlife excepting backyard bird feeders in winter, as this makes a bad situation worse. A seeming act of kindness, instead serving to bring the wildlife into closer contact with humans and the inevitable happens.
I love to view deer, but enjoy doing so in the deer’s habitat – in edge woods and thickets – not along a roadside or in a town or village!
Doe and Two Fawns