Deer numbers down in Manitoba, but more seen in Winnipeg
City residents say they're constantly fighting to keep deer from their homes
Manitoba's deer population is on the decline but homeowners in Winnipeg say they're constantly trying to keep deer away from their homes and yards.
Residents like Harold Strom say they've noticed more deer wandering within city limits this year, searching for food.
"They're getting squeezed because the more you develop, the more you take a square footage of land from them. There's less to eat, so they're coming into people's yards," Strom told CBC News.
Strom said he has had to put more fencing around his Charleswood property to keep the deer — and other animals — away from his garden.
"There's always the concern of predators. Like, we do see the odd coyote," he said.
The City of Winnipeg says so far this year, it has received 787 calls to pick up deer carcasses from city roadways. That number is up from 736 last year.
The majority of calls have come from the Charleswood and Tuxedo areas, according to the city.
In a recent case, a pet owner came across two deer carcasses, including one that was headless, at a Charleswood-area park late last month.
Manitoba Public Insurance says it has received more than 300 calls about deer that have been struck by vehicles.
Fewer deer in province
Meanwhile, the association representing Manitoba's hunting outfitters says it's frustrated by the declining overall deer population in the province.
"Our outfitters are noticing that there's fewer deer around than in previous years," said Paul Turenne, executive director of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association.
Turenne said hunters and outfitters have also reported seeing more predators like wolves in the province.
Manitoba Conservation says a significant amount of snow last year, not wolves, took a toll on rural deer populations.
Meanwhile, deer in cities have an easier time surviving because there are more food sources, said Ken Rebizant, the provincial department's big game manager.
"In some of these areas, deer have access to feed. People are feeding deer," he said.
However, officials are discouraging homeowners from feeding deer because it'll only put the animals at risk.
It's a point that Strom already knows. He tries to make sure his bird feeder is high enough so deer cannot reach it.
"If you feed the birds, and many people feed birds, you're feeding the deer," he said.