Adam Walker grabbed life by the horns last week — or rather by the antlers — when he arrived home to find his dog locked in a struggle with a large deer.
The MLA for Parksville Qualicum pulled into his driveway to see the strange and distressing sight on Sept. 7.
“It was like a mass of an animal — it was my golden lab and a big buck. The buck had pinned the lab down with his antlers and they were just going at each other,” Walker said.
Adrenaline kicked in and Walker grabbed the deer’s antlers and lifted them up so his dog, Pluto, could scurry to safety. But now he was holding onto the 200-pound animal’s antlers and could not break away.
“It was about 20 minutes of back and forth with this deer and it was probably the scariest moment of my life,” Walker said. “It got me in the leg once with its antler and then when I realized I couldn’t get away, I was holding on to him and I just started yelling for help.”
Fortunately his neighbour arrived and she got in Walker’s car and nudged the buck with the vehicle until it eventually backed into a ditch, lost its footing and ran off.
Walker suffered a puncture wound in his leg, as well as some scrapes on his knees and shins. He said he is healing nicely after Oceanside Health Centre medical staff sutured up his puncture wound.
It’s hard to say what brought on the deer’s aggressive behaviour, according to Lisa Lopez, WildSafeBC program manager, and any time a pet encounters a wild animal, that wild animal can behave in a way that is protective of space or a reaction to a perceived threat.
“These are wild animals and in that sense they’re constantly on alert for situations that may be averse to their survival,” she said.
Fall is mating season, so males are in competition and may exhibit more aggressive behaviour than other times of the year, Lopez said.
This is also the time of year when animals are out looking for food sources to prepare for winter, and the drought conditions have made that work extra hard.
“This is an opportunity for people to kind of take notice of it being the fall season and not just deer, but other wildlife are really ramping up to make sure that they’re well-fed, well-established for winter season,” Lopez said. “And with our drought conditions in B.C. there’s potential that there might be less natural food options out there for them.”
The deer could have been interested in a nearby source of water, or simply been passing through Walker’s yard, she added.
Quite a few people have reached out to Walker to see how he is doing after the incident and unsurprisingly there have been a few jokes made around the B.C. Legislature.
“I’ve heard no end of puns,” Walker said. “I quite like the one, ‘the buck stops here’, that one’s pretty good.”
He extended his gratitude to the staff at Oceanside Health Centre.
“Dr. Cooper, the nurses and all the support staff there did a great job fixing me up and we’re lucky to have them in the community.”
Sadly, although Walker’s dog Pluto escaped the deer encounter, he had cancer and was already scheduled for an appointment with the vet to be euthanized.