Urban Deer in Esquimalt

Urban deer study 

After the prescribed three-year deer survey and in consultation with local First Nations, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development has granted the permit required to participate in studying the efficacy of immunocontraception on deer.  

The research is being done by the University of Victoria Applied Conservation Macro Ecology (ACME) Lab in partnership with the township.

Researchers have successfully tagged 20 control deer. Capture teams of at least two people (one team lead/wildlife veterinarian and one field technician) completed the work July 26 to August 11, 2021—under the lead and supervision of the project wildlife veterinarian. Female deer were tagged by darting rather than using any physical traps. 

Please fill out the online survey at your earliest convenience to let the research team know if you would like to grant access to your property, or send an email if you have any questions. The researchers work from 6:30 a.m. to noon.

Sign up to allow researchers to tag deer on your property

Detections of marked control deer will help researchers determine the Esquimalt urban deer population size. In September-October 2021, up to 100 female deer will be captured and marked to treat with an immunocontraception (IC) vaccination. In fall 2023, previously treated deer will be given an IC booster vaccine. 

More information about the progress of the study can be found at acmelab.ca/esquimaltdeer. Questions or concerns can go to 778-729-2509 or [email protected]

Urban deer in Esquimalt

Columbian black-tailed deer are native to BC, ranging from the central coast of BC along the coastline into California. They’re part of the natural environment that makes Esquimalt such an extraordinary place to live.

Black-tailed deer thrive near forest edges, using the underbrush for foraging and cover. Wooded urban environments like golf courses, parks and roadside greenbelts are common places to find them making them a common sight in Esquimalt. 

Human-deer conflicts

Due to the abundance of deer in Esquimalt, you may come across them in your backyard,  or while walking, cycling and driving. There are several ways to reduce the impacts of these conflicts like making your yard deer-resistant, slowing down in areas where deer are frequent, and understanding how to react when encountering a deer. More information can be found here.


Residents that would like to erect a sign on their property to warn drivers of potential deer conflicts can pick up a "Caution - Expect Deer" sign at Municipal Hall or the Public Works yard.

For more information on human-wildlife conflicts, please see the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society or BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) websites.