The long-term presence of deer in the Waterton community has created an artificial situation which is affecting the safety of the park's visitors and community members.
Deer in Waterton can be aggressive © Parks Canada
A substantial deer population lives in the community of Waterton year-round, because it provides a relatively safe haven from predators and an attractive source of food.
These deer are habituated to the presence of humans and have lost their natural wariness of humans. Although the deer look cute and harmless, they can be very aggressive, especially to people and dogs.
The females (does) are of particular concern during the spring fawning season (June). They aggressively defend their fawns when people, especially those walking their dogs, come anywhere near, and this aggression is escalating.
Also, this high concentration of deer in the community has led to the occasional foray of bears and cougars into the area, creating further public safety concerns.
For your safety and for the safety of the deer, maintain a good distance from the animals while watching them, and do not entice or feed them. Be particularly cautious when walking your dog!
Reporting an incident
Please report any instances of aggressive behaviour by deer, deer attacks and / or injuries due to an attack by calling 403-859-2636. If possible, take a picture of the animal involved.
Parks Canada is working with the community of Waterton to develop and implement a strategy to manage deer in the community. A community advisory group is assisting in this effort.
2015 marks the fifth year of a project to determine if trained dogs can help create more natural behaviour in deer.
A dog handler uses shepherding dogs to gently move deer out of the Waterton community during fawning season and to rebuild the natural wariness that deer have for people and dogs.
The objective is to ensure public safety and protect wildlife, while maintaining quality wildlife viewing for visitors. So far the technique has proven to be very effective.
Video: Extraordinary Dog, Extraordinary Job