Deer may be rare in Scripps Ranch, but some might be spotted passing through.
By Bella Ross
Although deer sightings don’t seem to be common among Scripps Ranchers, those deer crossing signs are there for a reason.
“I saw a dead deer on Scripps Poway Parkway maybe a month ago,” said Scott Tremor, mammalogist at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Tremor, who studies mammals in Southern California and Baja California, said the reason deer sightings tend to be rare in Scripps Ranch is because these animals generally prefer open canyon space as opposed to more developed areas.
This is unlike coyotes and skunks, which Tremor referred to as “urban adaptors.” Deer tend to stick to wildlife corridors, residing in open spaces such as Carroll Canyon.
“Carol Canyon does eventually connect to Penasquitos Canyon, so a lot of animals are able to move east to west through this wildlife corridor,” Tremor said.
The southern mule deer, most common in Southern California, is also primarily active at dawn and dusk when people are less likely to be out and about.
A sighting would most likely feature a doe and a fawn, Tremor said, although mule deer tend to travel in groups led by females.
These deer like to settle in San Diego’s canyons and in eastern parts of the county where there is more open space. East Miramar is also home to many mule deer. That places Scripps Ranch right in the middle of a deer crossing.
“It’s wide open out there as you go east, but Scripps Ranch is the choke point where it starts to become a problem,” Tremor said. “It’s the first filter of those East County animals coming toward the west.”
In terms of vehicle collisions with deer, Tremor said fast-moving roads near open space are where drivers should be most cautious. North Scripps Ranch Boulevard and Scripps Poway Parkway already feature deer crossing signs – both near the northwestern side of the community.
Part of the threat posed by deer near roadways is that these creatures tend to run toward bright headlights as opposed to away from them, making surprise collisions harder to avoid.
When driving at night, the first thing a driver will see is the reflection of the animal’s eyes – a sign to slow down, Tremor said. This may not even be a deer, but a rabbit or other mammal.
If you happen to walk up on a deer or spot one and have a second to stop, “Enjoy it,” Tremor said.