Deer with a full rack pauses from eating bushes in Oak Bay on Beach Drive. (File photo)

Deer with a full rack pauses from eating bushes in Oak Bay on Beach Drive. (File photo)

Report estimates 100 deer call Oak Bay home

The population could be between 72 and 128 deer

Between 72 and 128 black-tailed deer live in Oak Bay.

Those numbers were included in a progress report from the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, released by the municipality Feb. 15. The report was officially received by council during the Feb. 19 committee of the whole meeting, before being passed to the province.

“We collected data on [black-tailed deer] distribution and space-use from remote cameras deployed using a systematic sampling design across Oak Bay during July – August 2018,” reads the report’s executive summary. “Our results indicate high relative [black-tailed deer] use of areas in south Oak Bay and in the vicinity of Uplands Golf Club in north Oak Bay.”

The report finds there are 6.8 to 12.2 black-tailed deer per square kilometre in Oak Bay. That leads to a median value of 97 deer.

READ ALSO: Deer arrives at B.C. home, eats plants, and leaves

“Certain caveats and statistical assumptions are attached with our analysis of [black-tailed deer] population density,” reads the report’s conclusion. “We expect to generate further refined density estimates as seasonal data and refinements to space use are included in subsequent analyses. Thus, we strongly suggest considering the density of [black-tailed deer] in Oak Bay as being somewhere between 6.8 and 12.2 [black-tailed deer per square kilometre], rather than considering the median estimate as an exact value.”

These numbers, as well as any subsequent reports, will allow for a direct comparison of density estimates following any future deer management policies.

“Future work will involve analysis of [black-tailed deer] habitat selection and movement patterns throughout the urban environment of Oak Bay, as well as allowing us to further refine population density estimates as we collect and process additional camera and GPS data across multiple seasons,” states the report’s executive summary.

The complete report is available to download from the Oak Bay municipal website, and paper copies can be picked up in person.


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