A Victoria woman who was chased by an aggressive deer last week is afraid to walk in her own neighbourhood.
Mary-Jo Morin, a Rockland neighbourhood resident, said she was walking her dog Aug. 14 on Rockland Avenue when a deer came within a metre of her and exhibited extremely aggressive behaviour.
“I started screaming, my neighbours came out and chased it off,” Morin said, adding the incident is the fourth encounter she’s had with what she believes is the same animal and her fawns.
“If she had got me with her hooves or my dog, we would have been really badly hurt,” she said.
Morin called a provincial conservation officer, who attended the area but was unable to locate the deer.
“He asked me to take a picture of the deer next time. I said that would be a bit difficult because I was running away from it,” she said.
Conservation officers rank calls by the level of risk to the public, and with only one officer on shift in the Capital Region at any given time, bear and cougar sightings tend to take priority.
“We’re getting a lot more calls about aggressive deer, but so far, nobody’s been injured by them,” said conservation officer Peter Pauwels. “Some pets have been attacked, but no people have been injured.”
Pauwels said conservation officers have only two options with deer – kill them, or leave them alone.
“We don’t move deer,” he said, adding that tranquilization only occurs when an animal is confined to an area, such as when cougars climb a tree.
“If it’s a serious threat to public safety, we’ll have to put it down. But in 20 years on the job, I’ve never heard of a deer attacking a person,” he said.
The Capital Regional District’s 10-member deer management committee is nearing its Sept. 5 deadline for a final report on how to deal with urban deer. The public input component of the process closed Wednesday, which will be included along with technical information in the committee’s recommendations.
“My feeling is now that it’s probably not going to be a case (where) the board gets the final report and then quickly makes a firm and final decision. I suspect there will be a lot further discussion,” CRD chair Geoff Young told the News.
Morin hopes the CRD can come to a conclusion so she can regain a sense of safety in her neighbourhood.
“We went through the bunny situation (at the University of Victoria), it took them years to resolve that. Now, there are so many deer around that you can’t walk anywhere. I’ve started carrying a golf club,” she said.