Information for new owners and visitors to Mayne Island re: Fallow Deer

• There are two species of deer on Mayne: the native Black Tail Deer and an invasive imported species called Fallow Deer.

• The rapidly increasing population of Fallow Deer is a result of the escape of about 50 deer from a deer farm licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture in the 1990"s; the "farm" no longer operates and the owner is not a full time resident of Mayne anymore.

• Fallow Deer differ greatly from the native Black Tail with respect to their appearance, behaviour and eating habits.

• They vary in colour: brown, grey, dun, spotted and even white; with a distinctive midline marking across the body and a hear shaped rump marking; males have large palmate antlers.

• They travel in herd-like groups, are skittish, bolting suddenly when seen or disturbed.

• Being related to elk and goats, they are grazers, eating plants to the ground and often uprooting them causing environmental damage to the understory of vegetation which supports many other life forms.

• Though there is a "No Hunting" law on Mayne, there are special permitted hunters who are allowed to hunt and eliminate Fallow Deer under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources.

• Hunters report to the RCMP when they have discharged firearms; they hunt in areas away from residential densities and with the permission of landowners.

• Over the past number of years there has been a concentrated effort to control the population but without external specialized support, eliminating them altogether is a daunting task; over 1000 animals have been culled.

• There is a local group of volunteers formed as a result of several community meetings; we are exploring as many possibilities as we can to address the problem; however to date, the MInistry responsible for this license has done very little ln support, neither in the form of expertise nor financial assistance.

• Fallow Deer have been seen on Saturna, Galiano and Pender so the problem is expanding.

• More detailed information can be found on the Mayne News website in the archives, the December 2015 Mayneliner and the Conservancy office.

• A website is under development and will be launched in the next couple of months.

• CAUTION: be aware of Fallow Deer especially when driving at night: if you see one, there will be others quickly following, so proceed carefully.


Marilyn Winterbottom
Mayne Fallow Deer Committee
Education sub-committee