deer move in

Garden Visits – sharing the yard with urban deer

wild, black tailed deer

Bambi is an icon of my childhood. As a farm kid, it was common to see deer.  They were delightful: so delicate and spritely; a scene from a Disney movie come to life.

Years later, having left the land for a university education & a career, I became a townie.  Wildlife in the yard is not expected to be anything more than squirrels,  birds, and the occasional dog gone AWOL.  After all, I live close enough to the downtown core that it isn’t even the burbs.  It’s only a 25-minute cycle to the Inner Harbour of Victoria.    But here there are urban deer.  Check out who visited on thanksgiving weekend:

urban black tailed deer
photo by SVSeekins

In fact, since May, I’ve watched the little one mature through what I’m guessing is its second summer.  I’m still enjoying seeing them in the yard, but I’m torn about what they do here.


This time, it’s a buffet of Russian Laurel (now I know why it hasn’t grown 12 feet high by now).

urban black tailed deer
photo by SVSeekins

Last month it was the Sedum Autumn Joy (leaving the Aster untouched).

June, July & August these two lived on vegetation; specifically blooming vegetation. Given their druthers, they’re not just vegetarians.   They prefer being bloom-etarians.

I could install high, unsightly deer fencing if I were selfish about keeping the flowers to myself  and if I didn’t enjoy seeing the wildlife so much. I reckon they’re successful, early adopters of the 100-mile diet. That’s admirable, so I’ve decided to grow enough to share.

That was the plan until recently.

The other evening my neighbors were out for a stroll.  They ended up on my doorstep, saying that they’d been ‘herded’ into our yard.

urban male black tailed deer
photo by SVSeekins

I would adjust my walking plans if I was followed by this fellow, too.  Yikes!  Maybe the photo doesn’t really do justice, but those antlers sure looked big & sharp in real life.

The 3 point buck stood less than 20 ft away while we talked excitedly on the doorstep.

He wasn’t aggressive, and I was really surprised how long he just stood there watching us.  He didn’t move off until the camera had flashed a couple of times & I was within 10-12 feet  (feeling a mixture between bravery & stupidity).  My heart rate didn’t return to normal for at least an hour.  The possibility of danger made me start thinking differently.

wild, black tailed deer
photo by SVSeekins

Now another part of my childhood comes to mind. Deer were delicious.

In our homesteading community, we depended on wild meat for food.   It was a life rich in community, but poor in cash.  Pretty much every family was starting from scratch, breaking the land and developing the farm business. We helped each other out and folk did what they needed to do to put a nutritious meal on the table.

I suppose it was also a version of the original 100-mile diet.

When it comes to hunting & butchering, I’ve always been a wimp. Happily, my income is not as tight as my parents’ was when we lived on the farm.   I’m ok with spending cash to put food on my table.    I know there are folks here in town that aren’t as solvent.

urban black tailed deer
photo by SVSeekins

I’m not condoning hunting season in urban areas.  Bullets whizzing across the yard or by the bus stop is not a comforting idea.  Perhaps some sort of non-wasteful population control?  (and which population to control?  them or us?)    I just don’t know.

With Casanova courting the local ladies, there’s sure to be a new fawn or two next spring to taste test everything that’s on offer in the yard. For now,  I’m intent to enjoy the company & do my best to provide a nutritious buffet as a good host should.


P.S. The deer saga continues:

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

6 thoughts on “Garden Visits – sharing the yard with urban deer”

  1. Very adaptable fellows aren’t they, mind you with so much dessert around who would want to leave.


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