April 30, 2001 - Manotick. People driving in the Ottawa area are advised to be extra cautious while driving this spring and early summer especially at dawn and dusk, to avoid accidents involving white-tailed deer. “Statistics indicate that the number of deer injured or killed by motorists in the Ottawa area is doubling every four years. By slowing down, increasing the distance between you and the car in front and by being more vigilant, some of these accidents may be avoided”, says Michael Rosen of the Ottawa Stewardship Council.
A 2000 study concluded that deer populations are rising because of: mild winters, a decline in natural predators and hunting, and improved habitat. Ottawa residents profit from this increase by being able to see more deer; however, there are downsides as well. In addition to the increase in accidents, browsing damage is occurring on natural vegetation and farmers are reporting increased crop losses. Development pressures are seeing more infrastructure and people occupying deer habitat, so it's no wonder that more conflict with deer is occurring.
The nine most hazardous sections of roadway for deer collisions in Ottawa, based on 1989-1997 data, starting with the most hazardous are:
- Carling Ave. (Range Rd-Lot Line 5NE),
- March Rd. (Carling-Klondike),
- #416 (Fallowfield-Huntclub),
- #417 (Eagleson-Moodie),
- Dunrobin Rd. (Lillian-Murphy),
- #417 (#7-Eagleson),
- March Rd. (Dunrobin-2nd Line),
- #417 (#7-Eagleson) and
- #416 (Bankfield to Fallowfield).
The late spring-early summer period is the second most hazardous time (after fall) with regards to accidents with deer. There are a number of techniques that people can use to reduce conflicts with deer. For farmers, the use of non-lethal repellents and fencing can be an option. For homeowners and for those who plan roadside plantings, using tree, shrub and herb species which deer do not prefer is a good idea. In the outdoors, leaving fawns alone when they are discovered lying down in fields or forested areas is always the right approach - the mother (doe) will return.
For motorists, although there are some products available to alert roadside deer, however slowing down and being careful is the best approach. The Ottawa Stewardship Council, a volunteer group is dedicated to promoting good environmental practices and its Living With Deer program. It encourages landowners, residents and agencies to be involved. The Council receives support from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. For more information on the Council please contact http://www.ontariostewardship.org/ottawa.
For further information contact: Michael Rosen, Stewardship Coordinator, Ottawa Stewardship Council at: (613) 692-0014.