Recent deer deaths in Central Okanagan prompt calls for ban on spiked fencing


A B.C. conservation officer is highlighting the dangers of some types of metal residential fencing after three recent incidents in the central Okanagan where deer were impaled on pointed fence pickets.

On Monday, a deer failed to clear a fence in the Westshore Estates neighbourhood in the Regional District of Central Okanagan and became stuck on top, according to conservation officer Tanner Beck.

“By the time we got out there, it had struggled its way off and taken off into the bush,” he said.

“I suspect the injuries were serious enough for it to die.”

Deer dying after becoming stuck on spiked fencing is an ongoing issue in the region.

Last month, two deer in the Kelowna area had to be euthanized after they became impaled on the top spikes of residential fences, Beck said. 

Last summer, a young bull moose died in a Kelowna yard after it was injured while trying to clear a fence.

“We see injuries quite often to wildlife by these type of fences,” Beck said.

“The spiked row on top … they are all sharp points, different lengths and if a deer lands on top of them they get essentially stabbed by them.”

Last year the city of Kelowna passed a zoning bylaw banning fencing with spikes above the top rail for any new construction projects, with existing fencing grandfathered in.

Wildlife can become impaled on the decorative spikes sticking up above the top rails of wrought-iron fences, says BC Conservation Service (Melanie Wilson / CBC)

Beck called that a step in the right direction and he hopes more municipalities will consider adjusting their bylaws to prohibit spiked fences.

Home owners with existing fencing with spikes above the top rails can modify their fences to make them less dangerous for deer, he said.

“People can cut off the spiked tips on the top of the fences leaving a smooth bar, so that if a deer does land on it, it is not going to get gored or stabbed,” Beck said.

A spokesperson for the Regional District of the Central Okanagan said the district is aware of the issue and will consider modifying its zoning bylaws that govern residential fencing when it reviews them this year.

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