Yukon gov't beginning deer survey this winter

Deer began appearing in the Yukon almost a hundred years ago. Now they're showing up in urban gardens.

Deer population gradually growing in the territory

The Yukon government is beginning a deer survey this winter to get a better picture of their gradually growing population. (Yukon Gov't)

The Yukon government is going to try for the first time to get a more accurate count of how many deer there are in the territory.

Biologists estimate there are about 1,000, but this winter they'll begin to try to narrow that down.

Sophie Czetwertynski, a Yukon ungulate biologist, says to get a count biologists are setting up cameras at different points around the territory.

But, she adds this first year will be more of a test and more work will have to be done to get the information they'll need.

"Really at this point in the study it will be more looking at distribution, sex ratios, possibly getting an estimate of recruitment depending on what shows up," she says.

"Something else we'll be looking at is the relative difference in the number of deer and different habitat types," she says.

Deer are not native to the Yukon. Czetwertynski says they first appeared in the 1920s and the population has been increasing ever since. 

Yukon has both White Tail and Mule deer, but the Mule Deer are predominant. (Yukon Gov't)

She says most are mule deer. They're easy to spot because of their white rump. White tail deer actually have more of a brown rump.

The deer are now sometimes spotted grazing in Whitehorse yards and gardens. Czetwertynski says the deer show up in the city because they know there is good source of food and they feel safe from most predators. She says they're usually seen chewing on twigs and branches in the morning and at sunset.

She says less severe winters are probably why they've been moving north from B.C. 

Czetwertynski says one harsh winter could significantly affect their numbers in the Yukon.