The great UVic deer debate

Dear world pic1Dear World,

Has this ever happened to you?

You arrive at the UVic bus loop already late to your morning class, thinking of that daunting journey to the lecture hall across campus. Suddenly, your path is blocked; a lone deer stands in your way. Yep, just one solitary, antler-wielding, “looks-like-he-might-be-Bambi’s-vengeful-father,” black-tailed deer.

If you answered “yes” to any variation of the scenario above, upon seeing this deer, did you:

  1. Walk carefully around the deer, taking a different route to class
  2. Challenge the deer to a duel using 20mm caliber muskets, or
  3. Consider a way to saddle the deer and use it as transport to your class?

When I found myself in this situation, my mind immediately went to option 3 (because who am I kidding, I can’t duel).

Cartoon deerCall it ingenuitive. Call it ridiculous. Either way, I seriously pondered the idea of what it would be like to befriend this deer and employ its help to get my sleep-deprived self to class.

After careful consideration, I realized my idea wasn’t possible, so I quickly changed my route to avoid the should-be-grazing brown fluff-ball.

This groggy encounter had me questioning the role of our overpopulation of campus deer. I mean, what is their role if not for transport?  They are cute, yes, but can also interrupt our daily lives — and make us late for class.

Personally, I find them pretty awesome, but my friends have condemned me for calling tarantulas “cute” in the past, so I didn’t trust my judgement.

I decided to go out on campus and ask you, the UVic population, whether you think these deer are friend or foe. For those of you who do not know, UVic has accumulated a large population of deer over the past decade. In fact, a 2012 study found that approximately 75% of all black-tailed deer in BC are found on Vancouver Island.

With this knowledge, I surveyed a small portion of our student body.

And what was the response?

Well, you absolutely love them. After my (extremely legitimate) process of awkwardly approaching students on the campus quad and asking their opinions, it was the general consensus that UVic students love these deer.

Deer in sunlight


Here are some student responses regarding our campus deer:

  • “They are freakin adorable, especially the babies.”
  • “They make excellent “#westcoastbestcoast” photos.” —->
  • “They raise ecological awareness about the decreasing habitat for wildlife in our province.”
  • “They help lighten the day of students in need of a happy pick-me-up.”

In short, virtually everyone I asked had a valid, positive opinion about our furry friends and weren’t afraid to share. Yes, some of the locals (my cynical friends) believe that they can be annoying and disruptive to our busy lives and can occasionally make driving or walking across streets a hassle. Aside from the odd inconvenience, what I’ve noticed most is that these deer are a unique part of our university life.

Whenever there is a small herd on campus, or a little Bambi with bright eyes bounding away, everyone stops to watch.

Yes, they might not be the best at leaving you a walking path, or be a viable source of transport, but I feel (and it seems like you do, too!) that they are, most definitely, a part of Vikes Nation.

See you next week!


P.S. Shout out to my amazingly talented friend, Penny Young, for her drawing of me riding a deer!

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5 Responses

  1. Cathie says:

    I still get excited when a deer’s nibbling on the plants outside my office window. We’re so lucky to be among nature here!

  2. Carissa says:

    I just wish our furry friends would put on some reflective clothing when they make an appearance at night! Great article Talen!

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