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Posts tagged ‘deer’

Early Sunday morning walkabout

July 31, 2011

Folks who sleep in – or dash about in their car – miss some of Penticton’s most lovely moments.  6 am Sunday morning was a perfect start to a beautiful summer day.  The streets were quiet and peaceful.  There were few people out and about, other than occasional dogs out walking their humans, and two or three paper-delivery folk.  A flurry of pigeons enthusiastically swooped down onto a driveway to scoop up seeds scattered by a local resident.  A moving truck backed up to a front door signalled that common month-end human activity.  The folks at the Another Chance street breakfast were setting up their barbeque and coffee maker, and hungry people of all ages were gathering in.

A doe was out for a stroll with her two still-spotted fawns, and further along another deer was out for a meander.  The latter appeared to have had a run-in with unfriendly humans in the past, as dark holes in chest and side indicated where a bullet must have passed through, miraculously missing any vital organs.  Fruit trees, vines, and bushes hung heavy with ripening apricots, grapes, cherries, and wild berries.  Beautiful roses pushed through narrow gaps in an old picket fence, bringing their beauty and lovely scent right out to the sidewalk for the enjoyment of passing pedestrians.

Summer, it seems, had finally arrived.  The past week or so of sunny summer weather, though not terribly hot, had silently but surely tanned the landscape.  Grassy spots on the edges of parks, where the sprinklers didn’t reach, suddenly had turned from soft green to dry crackly scruffy brown.  Creeks were running more slowly than just a week or two previously, their waters clear, no longer filled with silty run-off.  The hills overlooking the beautiful south Okanagan Valley had taken on their normal tan-colored summer hue, the last of the spring green finally fading away after an unusually long, cool, damp season.  The far-off peaks, which had been snow-tipped long past their normal melt-time, suddenly were bare except for the odd stubborn spot.  The early morning sun bathed the hillsides in a golden glow, and fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky bowed together toward the rising sun, promising a beautiful day.  Even that normally depressing Penticton landmark, a long-abandoned, slowly disintegrating apartment construction site with a long crane rusting slowly overhead, had a kind of eerie beauty on this early summer morning.

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Deer on highway

15 July 2011

Word has it that there are about 500 deer living within Penticton city limits this summer, and many more in the surrounding countryside.  A friend reports that the game warden says a cull would be dangerous because removing the in-city deer would simply result in the deer in the surrounding areas moving into the city limits – and their major predators, black bear and cougar, would follow them in.  The deer are pleasant to look at, but they joyfully clear out people’s garden and  chew the bark off young trees.  Though I haven’t heard about deer causing injuries to humans or their pets, there have been an unusual number of reports of this kind of activity at other locations in the province this year.  Some people are very concerned it could start happening here.

One activity that is occurring frequently is deer crossing roadways.  While most of the roads within city limits have fairly slow  speed limits, the highway bypass, for much of its length, allows speeds of up to 70 to 80 kilometers/hour.  At these speeds, it is sometimes difficult for drivers to slow down suddenly enough to avoid colliding with deer, especially when the creatures panic and swerve all over the highway.  An example of this happened today, and I managed to catch a few photos.  Some are a bit blurry, as the deer was skittering here and there and it was hard to keep up with him.  But they do give a sense of the problem.

What is to be done about this situation is another story.  Obviously, the city and surrounding residential and farming areas keep expanding into the deers’ natural territory.  Humans particularly love to live close to the lakeshores and along the rivers, cutting wildlife off from their water supply in this arid landscape.  Furthermore, the green irrigated vegetation of human habitation is inevitably a temptation to the deer, who otherwise need to feed on dry scrubby grasses.