Parksville has a bylaw that states food must not deliberately be put out to attract deer.

Wild ‘N Free column: don’t feed the deer

Columnist warns about hefty fines for feeding deer in Parksville

By SYLVIA CAMPBELL

NEWS Contributor

“Oops, I didn’t know that.”

That could be a comment from quite a few residents of the Parksville area. On March 19, 2012, the City of Parksville adopted a regulation to stop the feeding of deer within the boundaries of the city.

The Deer Feeding Prohibition Bylaw, No. 1476 states food must not deliberately be put out to attract deer. Food means any substance which could reasonably be expected to attract deer or does attract deer including but not limited to food products, pet food, feed, compost, grain or salt.

A few years ago I witnessed a bizarre deer situation. In a residential area of Nanaimo, a deep ravine led up to a circle of homes. I happened to be parked in my car and witnessed deer beginning to ascend from the ravine and systematically walk with a purpose towards certain homes. It didn’t take long to know why. Grain had been set out in small piles on the sidewalk and eventually right up into the garage. One deer turned into 20.

Further along other homes were surrounded by electric fences. I thought to myself ‘I’d hate to live on this street.’ There could be an all out war between deer lovers and garden growers.

The city banned deer feeding due to the high number of deer in urban areas and the negative conflicts and effects it may have. These negative effects are habituation of deer, loss of fear, physical harm to humans, drawing in cougars and disease transmission. Urban deer rarely have predators except for dogs and cars and as many of us have witnessed several dead deer on the side of the street due to vehicle collisions.

The act goes on to say that any person who contravenes or violates any provision of this bylaw commits an offence, and where the offence is a continuing one, each day that the offence is continued shall constitute a separate offence. The offender shall be liable to pay a maximum fine of not more than $10,000. A compliance officer may enter onto any property to inspect and determine whether the provisions are being met.

As an animal lover and advocate I understand the desire to be close to animals but these rules are here for a good reason. Wildlife live in the wild and not in our yards. It’s better for them and for ourselves. One might think a deer poses no physical harm but that is not true as those hooves can tear at human flesh with ease. Feeding wildlife also applies to bears and humans don’t have a chance then.

This is the time of year when folks feel inclined to lend a hand to cold deer but please think twice about that $10,000 fine.

— Sylvia Campbell is a co-founder of

NIWRA. Call 250-248-8534 or visit

wildlife@niwra.org.

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