Don’t Feed the Wild Animals! An important reminder as the town works on solutions to the deer population

If you live or work in the Town of Yarmouth, it’s no secret that the deer population has grown in recent years. And not just by a small margin. In some cases, people are reporting seeing up to 15 deer in their yard at one time. While beautiful, they are becoming more and more of an issue each year. We are not alone, as many other towns across the province are experiencing the same problem.

One of those towns is Truro. To tackle the issue, Truro developed a Deer Management Strategy. A key ingredient of that strategy was the formation of a working group consisting of council members, town staff, and other community stakeholders and experts. The group has been successful in helping define the problem and build strategy to address it.

At the April 14th Yarmouth Town Council meeting, a motion was passed to follow Truro’s model and begin the process of managing the deer population by forming the same type of working group. This is an important first step toward finding a long-term solution to the town’s deer population problem.

Solutions from this working group will take time to develop. Until then, we can begin to address the problem by taking some actions of our own. In particular, avoiding the deliberate feeding of deer. Feeding wild animals in the Town of Yarmouth is not allowed under bylaw TOY 71 – “Feeding Wild Animals Bylaw”. Developed last year, a key purpose of the bylaw is to prevent the feeding of deer. Putting out food not only attracts other unwanted animals such as racoons and rats. It makes our deer problem worse as it causes them to gather unnaturally into groups of high densities. These high deer densities can:

  • attract predators and increase risk of death by coyotes or domestic dogs.
  • spread disease among deer and introduce lyme-disease carrying ticks to properties.
  • cause aggression, wasting vital energy reserves and leading to injury or death.
  • result in over-browsing of local vegetation and ornamental plants, including resident’s gardens.
  • increase deer-vehicle collisions, a danger to both deer and motorists.

Feeding is bad for deer and bad for residents. While the town is now actively working on a solution to the deer population to protect the health and safety of citizens, please do not feed deer and other wildlife. The Feeding Wild Animals bylaw can be found on our website at You may also request a paper copy at town hall, 400 Main Street.

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