Uncertain what to do, one Oak Bay resident took to Twitter in seek of aid for a buck.
Karen Wallace-Prince went out in her garden to shoo the buck off and noticed a wire hanging planter dangling from its antlers.
“He stood there and he looked at me. I talked to him and I walked towards him and he didn’t move,” she said.
She wanted to help, but knew she couldn’t, and wouldn’t, get close enough to untangle the wire. So she snapped a picture and sent it out into social media hoping the right person would find it.
Wallace-Prince got some heartening, and accurate, advice early on when a a friend on Instagram said the antler will fall off soon.
The Oak Bay woman was right when she felt she wouldn’t get close enough to remove the wound wire, said Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels.
“You’ve got to have them sedated to get something like that off,” Pauwels said. “It’s very difficult to do, they don’t like to be handled and they react very vigourously.”
She’s also not the only one who noticed the plight of this particular buck, though it’s not unusual this time of year to see deer tango with tomato cages, Christmas lights, hammocks and rope swings.
“This sort of thing happens probably 20 times a year,” Pauwels said. “They are about to drop their antlers so there’s a good chance this will resolve itself.”
Conservation officers had calls two weeks ago about an Esquimalt deer with garden netting in its antlers. They had three or four calls about the deer that was still mobile, and feeding. Then came the call it was tangled in a tree and they went out to help.
“We’ll help it if we can but there are limits to what we can do,” said Pauwels. “If it’s still mobile there’s not much we can do.”
Based in Langford, it would take too long to arrive. A mobile deer would also dart off if they used a tranquilizing dart – it can take five or 10 minutes to take effect – which officers aren’t inclined to do if a deer isn’t in peril.
“We do a lot of freeing of deer when they’re caught up, but in most cases it has to get caught up,” Pauwels said. “It can be done in certain situations, but we’ve got to be there and see it.”
Wallace-Prince, who has an active deer yard, says it’s not the first time she’s seen a tangled up ungulate. But it’s the first time she took to Twitter to find a solution – tagging her community newspaper @OakBayNews and @hazeloakbay (Coun. Hazel Braithwaite) who added Oak Bay Police into the Twitter loop.
“If an animal looks like it’s suffering or it can’t move, call us,” Pauwels said.
Report injured or suffering animals toll free at 1-877-952-7277.