New Brunswick Deer Face Winter Hardships

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Vehicle-deer collisions, dogs running loose in the woods and unauthorized feeding are among the biggest hardships deer face in New Brunswick this time of year.

Each year, toward the latter part of winter, hundreds of deer are killed on highways in New Brunswick. Accidents usually occur at dawn and approaching nightfall, when a driver's visibility is reduced. Motorists should be alert for deer as the weather warms up, since this is when they are on the move, and also be extra cautious particularly at dawn and dusk.

Another serious problem involves dogs running uncontrolled in the woods. Each year, domestic dogs kill deer throughout New Brunswick. Deer face many natural hardships and challenges, but this is one which people can do something about. People who don't properly confine their dogs can be charged and fined, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has the authority to destroy dogs found running at large in the forests. Conservation officers have observed a number of dogs harassing deer in the southern part of the province where fields are bare, and have subsequently destroyed the dogs. Dogs running at large should be reported to the nearest DNR office.

The department also strongly discourages New Brunswickers from feeding wildlife during the winter period, and throughout the rest of the year. Although it appears beneficial, the long-term implications and consequences are harmful for both the deer and their habitat. Feeding can concentrate the animals in a smaller section of their range than normal, which makes competition for available food more intense, elevates the risk of disease, and increases the number of deer killed by domestic dogs and vehicles.