Stranded deer rescued from frozen lake near Kamloops

Kamloops Search and Rescue said the doe was on the ice for 30 hours

Two members of a British Columbia search crew carried out an unusual rescue this week after they received a call about a deer stranded on an ice-covered lake.

Mike Ritcey and a fellow member of Kamloops Search and Rescue received a call from a woman who spotted the deer on Tunkwa Lake, about 80 kilometres west of Kamloops.

The pair sprang into action on Monday and decided to personally help the deer, although it wasn’t an official Kamloops Search and Rescue operation.

“It was the right thing to do,” Ritcey said, adding the doe was on the ice for at least 30 hours. “When they get out on the ice and they lay there, it’s a bad deal. The birds eat them alive.”

He said he took precautions testing the ice every step of the way. Once he reached the doe, he said he threw a scarf over its eyes to calm it down and rolled it onto a plastic toboggan to pull it back to shore.

“We helped stand it up and the thing took off,” he said, adding that it didn’t appear to have any broken bones and there was no sign of blood.

READ: Hammy the deer has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

This wasn’t the first time Ritcey came to the rescue of a stranded deer. He said there was another case a few years ago, but in that instance the deer was badly injured and had to be euthanized.

The B.C. Conservation Service says an officer received a call about the deer on Sunday, but due to a miscommunication, he thought the complaint had been dealt with when it hadn’t.

Spokesman Tobe Sprado says it’s not unusual for deer to flee to frozen lakes while being chased by predators and then be unable to get up from the ice.

“For whatever reason, they look at the lake as being a bit of a refuge,” he says. “We get calls every year about stranded deer in ice.”

He says conservation offers do not typically rescue deer in such situations.

“It’s a risky situation, to be putting your life at risk for saving a deer,” he says.

“We usually let nature run its course in a lot of these incidents. The other option, if we feel it’s in public interest and to prevent suffering of the animal, we would possibly attend and euthanize that wildlife.”

Another option the service would “possibly consider” would be to reach out to other entities, such as search and rescue or municipal fire departments, who would have the equipment and training to save the deer, he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nahatlatch, Silver Lake and other parks to open Monday, Othello Tunnels stay closed

More options for day-use and camping, starting June 1, in Hope, Fraser Canyon and Manning

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Hope activates emergency operations centre as Fraser River rises

Fraser River reaches 8,500 cubic metres per second at Hope gauge

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Police say Chilliwack driver who flipped car on overpass Sunday was impaired

Witnesses say rollover incident was preceded by vehicle and motorcycles speeding all over town

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read