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Feeding Deer: More Harm Than Good

The Town of Antigonish is asking residents in our community to not feed deer that may be visiting your property. The Town understands that residents mean well and it can be exciting to see nature up close, but deer have plenty of food in their natural environment and are very skilled at finding their own food.

Feeding deer encourages them to keep returning and does more harm to both the deer and our community as a whole. People who attract deer to their neighbourhood run the risk of damaging their property and that of their neighbours. Once deer are in the area, they will eat anything that is available.

Attracting deer to feeding sites within town limits changes their behaviour and increases the level of habituation. This creates a space in which stress in the form of low predation and very little negative associations linked directly with people. Deer gradually move into neighborhoods and stay. This, in turn, increases the risk of deer/vehicle collisions, dogs chasing deer as well as a direct conflict with residents and in some cases aggressive and or defences conflict situations and ultimately puts both animals and people at risk.

A secondary concern is that white-tailed deer are the preferred host of deer-ticks (black-legged Ticks) which can carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease can infect humans, pets and other animals.

Oh Deer: What You Can Do

A few tips to discourage deer from coming onto your property:

  • Do not feed deer either intentionally or otherwise.
  • Erect fencing adequate to prevent access to areas of high interest. For example: small gardens and flower beds.
  • If possible, safely scare deer away with loud noise, sprinklers or garden hose.
  • Maintain your landscape. Trim densely planted areas that will discourage deer from grazing in your yard.
  • Keep deer attracting plants closer to your home. Even hungry deer are reluctant to come close to your home.
  • Select plants that are less attractive to deer.

If you know there are deer in and around your home, remember to drive with caution through your neighbourhood especially during early morning and late evening hours. Additionally, if you see deer running across lawns and streets in Town please drive with caution and continue to watch for other animals and pets in the area.

If you have any concerns regarding deer on your property, please submit a concerned citizen report: https://townofantigonish.ca/report-a-concern.html

Additional questions or concerns regarding deer in residential areas can be directed to the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forrest local office at 902-863-4513 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  pdf Click to download OH DEER Information Poster.  (116 KB)

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Town of Antigonish
274 Main Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Canada B2G 2C4

Phone: (902) 863-2351
Fax: (902) 863-0460 / (902) 863-9201

Town Hall hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

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