Wildlife experts are urging caution in the Kootenays after a woman in Kimberley was put in hospital with serious injuries from a deer attack this week.
The woman was walking their dog near Rotary Drive and Knighton Road on Wednesday, June 9, when she was attacked by an aggressive deer and sustained serious injuries and is currently in hospital.
It is believed that the doe had fawns bedding down nearby, as it is fawning season.
Sgt. Denny Chretien of the BC Conservation Officer Service, said that fawning season makes managing an animal like this difficult for them, especially as they aren’t yet sure if this particular deer has her fawns out, or if they’re still inside her.
“I just don’t think it’s very humane to start manipulating an animal with possibly two viable fawns in her, or even some that may be hidden,” Chretien said. “So what we’re doing is we’re aware of it, we’re going to work with some of our partners in town, the bylaw officer, to put notices up, but we will probably be managing this deer in terms of public safety.”
First they are trying to ensure that people are aware that this deer is in the area and she is aggressive, particularly when it comes to dogs.
“This was provoked by a dog and the lady protected her dog and herself, but got caught in the middle of it and that’s the tragedy of that,” Chretien said. “These deer fear dogs and then humans get pummelled by the deer kind of in the middle.”
The Conservation Officer Service has a file started on this deer and are monitoring it and working to come up with management options, one of which may be to remove her from the population, as this is not the first time she’s been aggressive.
“She’s charged at other people and we probably will have to remove her, but we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of the fawns.”
Because they are unsure if this animal may be pregnant, they need to find out before they take any action, including applying any drugs to her, as those would be filtered through into the fawns.
“We have very little options on how we’re going to do this, but if we could secure the safety of the fawns, put them into a rehab and not learn those aggressive traits, mum might have to be euthanized,” he explained.
WildSafe also said that signs are put up in areas where deer and fawns are spotted and the public needs to be careful in those areas.
“Give deer lots of space – cross the road if you have to or take a different route.
Signs of a deer attack are ears pointed upward, the neck will lower and a warning stomp may or may not occur
If there is a tree or other solid object nearby, try to get behind it. If you have bear spray, it can also be used on deer if they get too close.
If you are attacked by a deer try to stay upright, cover your head with your arms and move to shelter.”
Chretien also added that the best thing to do if a deer is coming at you while walking your dog is to let the dog go. Do not try to hold the dog in your arms as it is what the deer is going for. Chretien said it is better to either get out of the area as fast as you can with your dog, or to let it go. Do not pick up your dog or get between the dog and the deer as you could be seriously hurt.
If you are concerned for your safety or have sighted deer in your neighborhood that are no longer afraid of people or pets please report them to the Conservation Officer Service by calling 1-877-952-7277.”