The rut is picking up in British Columbia’s Okanogan Valley, where three different people were attacked by deer in the span of a week. All three attacks targeted women who were walking their dogs. In one instance, the dog was killed.
The most recent incident took place on Nov. 2. At around 8 a.m., a mule deer buck charged and attacked a 50-year-old woman who was walking two leashed dogs in a Kelowna neighborhood, according to the Coast Reporter. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, and authorities did not give an update on her condition as of Nov. 3.
David Karn, a spokesperson for the province’s Ministry of Environment, told reporters on Friday that the BC Conservation Officer Service was investigating the attack. He said wildlife officers were trying to locate the aggressive buck so they could euthanize it.
“I think in this case, they’re going to treat it similarly to a predator incident. We’re tracking it and trying to find the offending deer,” Karn explained. “Officers will continue to search for the offending deer, which may possibly have a broken antler.”
The other two attacks that took place in Okanogan throughout the week occurred on Oct. 26 and Nov. 1. Both involved women and their dogs in West Kelowna, which sits across Okanogan Lake from the larger town of Kelowna.
On Nov. 1, a 74-year-old woman reported a run-in with a deer that was “determined to kill somebody,” according to the Coast Reporter. She was in her own backyard when the deer charged her and her 5-pound chihuahua.
“Next thing I know I see the damn thing coming around the corner … chasing my dog, going like mad and it was catching up to him,” she told the newspaper. “It got close enough that it was going to trample him, because the deer started lifting its feet. And I’m screaming at it, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to kill him.’”
She added that the attacking deer got within 3 feet of her before she jumped up on her veranda and threw a board at it. Some other neighbors also threw rocks, and the deer left before any people or pets were injured. The woman said she was surprised by the attack, as her house is usually surrounded by deer and she’s never been afraid of the animals.
“I’ve had deer sleeping under my window all summer, they have never bothered me, even with their babies,” she said. “[This deer] wanted to kill something. I’ve never seen this.”
The Nov. 1 attack was especially concerning in light of the deadly deer attack that happened at a nearby park on Oct. 26. While walking her dog Elly on a leash that morning, West Kelowna resident Maren Corner was suddenly kicked in the back by a large doe, according to the Coast Reporter. Corner then dropped the leash, and when Elly tried to run away, the doe trampled the small dog and killed it.
“The deer didn’t do it all at once, she just kicked her many times. When Elly tried to get away or start moving, it just belted her,” Maren told reporters. “[The deer] trampled her in front of everybody to death, and nobody could help her.”
Maren’s run-in seemed out of the ordinary because it was reportedly a doe, and not a buck, that attacked her and her dog. As for the Nov. 1 attack, it’s unclear whether the aggressive deer was a buck or a doe. (The species of deer is also unknown in both incidents, although a recent report found that mule deer are more prevalent in urban areas of Kelowna.) Generally speaking, it’s more common for bucks to go on the attack during this time of the year as they go into rut and seek out females to breed. Leashed pets can also lead to attacks, however, as a barking dog will sometimes trigger a prey response from a frightened or aggressive deer.