Victoria is home to an abundance of deer, and now that autumn is beginning to turn into winter, residents may start seeing signs of the beginning of their rut (or breeding season).
One local woman, Chris Allison, certainly saw some breeding behaviour in action, and captured a video of two young bucks battling over territory in the Shorncliffe / Cedar Hill area on Sunday.
According to Allison, there were a couple female deer across the road.
“The dark male is older and the lighter male was challenging his domain and wanting to take over the females.”
According to the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, breeding season usually starts around mid-November when daylight begins to shorten.
Island residents may start seeing bucks displaying their dominance by strutting, circling, tail flicking and rubbing their antlers against shrubs.
Bucks will also, of course, be engaging in head-to-head fights, and locking antlers with similar sized competitors.
“These displays and fights are used to assert dominance and secure breeding privileges,” says the British Columbia Conservation Foundation website about local deer.
If you see deer in the wild or in your neighbourhood, the foundation has tips on how to remain safe.
Though they can be cute, avoid approaching deer, especially young ones as they may attack. Mothers may also become aggressive if they see people near their fawns.
Deer lower their ears and their heads as a signal of aggression. “If you are attacked by a deer try to stay upright, cover your head with your arms and move to shelter,” says the foundation.
If you want to discourage deer from lingering at your property, you can try installing fences around fruit trees and gardens, removing excessive cover from yards (which deer use as shelter and to hide), or install motion activated lights or sprinklers to spook them.
If you are concerned for your safety or about a deer, you can contact the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.