Gore Bay residents upset with steadily increasing deer population in town

GORE BAY—While they may be beautiful animals and welcome for the most part, many Gore Bay residents are fed up with the steadily increasing number of deer in town that are causing problems in trying to maintain plants and flowers, food grown on their property and the potential dangers deer cause, not only with possible collisions or with the animals, but with deer droppings.

“I guess my biggest concern is the number of deer in town increasing as much as it is has,” Joyce Foster stated in an interview last Friday. “Imagine if all the fawns get through the winter this year how much more of an increase there will be again next year, and in future years as well.”

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“I had 15 deer standing in my yard one day,” said Ms. Foster. “And my yard is full of deer crap all the time. When you walk in the backyard you have to keep looking down every time you take a step to make sure you’re not stepping in deer crap.”

“I know one lady who said she had left her house one day and there was a doe standing just outside, pawing at the ground and snorting,” said Ms. Foster. “And last year she said a deer chased her and her dog up the street.”

There are at least a couple of big bucks in town, said Ms. Foster. “What happens when the rutting season starts, when they can get quite vicious. An adult or a kid could get hurt if they get in their way.” She pointed out one of her grandsons works for the Ministry of Health and he said the number of ticks reported to the health agency last year was horrendous. “With that many more deer around in town it means the potential for more chance of someone getting Lyme disease.”

“The (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) has to get involved in solving this problem, it is time something was done,” stated Ms. Foster. “And town council needs to look at options to look at before someone gets hurt. People who live here in town know about the deer being around and for the most part slow down their driving. But a lot of visitors to the town don’t necessarily know about all the deer here. People are going to get hurt.”

Linda Flanagan is another unhappy town resident. “These deer are just eating everything. They have pretty much destroyed everything I’ve planted. My crab apples are pretty much done and they eat everything including marigolds, other plants and hostas (a green leafy plant).”

“Deer have pulled up all the cedars from a neighbours in front of their house,” said Ms. Flanagan. “And they finished destroying our cedar hedges today.”

“The biggest problem is that seeing ticks on my pets, or with the grandkids visiting, with deer droppings all over the yard,” said Ms. Flanagan. She said fencing off of plants and flowers for instance doesn’t work as the deer just rip them down to get at what is inside.

“There needs to be some type of controlled cull take place in Gore Bay,” stated Drew Purvis. He pointed out, “our yard is ruined, and you certainly can’t have young kids playing in yards in town with all the deer crap around. We normally have an Easter Egg hunt in our yard, but we couldn’t this year. We just don’t need all the deer we have in town, they are a danger to people, and pose a health risk.” He said that in other places in Canada and the US, deer culls have taken place to curb the number of animals in communities and this needs to take place in Gore Bay.

Mr. Purvis agreed, “the deer eat everything now. They even eat blue spruce!”

“There was a city in Saskatchewan that undertook a cull of deer in their town when the population got out of control,” said Ms. Foster. “I’m going to get hold of them and find out what the MNRF can or will do, and how active town council wants to be on the issue.”

“We even have deer droppings on our back deck,” said Ms. Flanagan. “They (deer) have no fear of humans. You can get up to 20 feet or closer to them and they just stare at you, but don’t move.”

“I know I’m getting fed up with the number of deer in town,” said Ms. Foster. “I spend a lot of money on sprays to keep deer away, but if you go more than a day without spraying the plants and flowers the deer are back. And they eat everything, so you can’t plant anything vegetables, plants, flowers, nothing.”

“There are no cedar hedges left in town,” said Ms. Foster. She said people could look at putting up electric fences but that costs a fortune and said there would be the possibility of a child or adult touching the fence and getting hurt so this is out of the question.

“This is not something that we should have to put up with on a continual basis,” said Ms. Foster. She will be making a delegation to Gore Bay council at a meeting on October 10 and encourages other residents in town to attend the meeting and provide their input on the issue. “I will be bringing my concerns forward and will see what council can do and if they will work with us to look at options on this issue.”

Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane told the Recorder, “it is common knowledge that there are probably too many deer in town. And although visitors love to see them they are definitely a nuisance for local residents.”

“If someone can come forward with a solution to the issue council will definitely listen, we are open to any reasonable solutions being made,” he said.