B.C. Conservation Officer Service is investigating an incident on Vancouver Island in which a deer had to be put down last week after being blinded by a pellet gun.
Sgt. Stuart Bates, with B.C. Conservation Officer Service, responded to the Dec. 5 call and said a blind fawn was seen wandering into an active construction site in the 5400 block of Bayshore Drive in the Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.
The young deer was found to have a pellet gun wound on its head, according to Bates, and although it appeared to be fine physically, it had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries.
Bates said it was difficult euthanizing the fawn and a subsequent necropsy revealed a “little lead pellet” which, because it was such a small deer, had penetrated its skull and “sitting halfway through its brain.”
In addition, Bates said there have been three adult deer in the Nanoose area, north of Nanaimo, which were hunted legally in the last two weeks, that were found to have previous air gun or BB pellet wounds.
Bates said that while residents may be frustrated by deer foraging for food on their properties and in their gardens, it is illegal to shoot a weapon at wildlife in residential areas.
“There is no open season for wildlife within 100 metres of any residence…” said Bates. “Even though they didn’t kill it, they can still be charged with hunting wildlife out of season. It’s illegal to hunt deer with a weapon that small. You can’t even use a .22, you have to use a centre-fire rifle that is capable of killing them humanely and this is why.”
Anyone with information on any of the incidents is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.