A buck that was shot with a crossbow in Esquimalt was put down by police Friday morning.

At around 9 a.m., police were called to the area near Esquimalt Road and Hedge Street for the for a report of a deer with an arrow sticking out of its hind leg.

Officers then discovered a buck with a crossbow bolt sticking out of the leg.

B.C. conservation officer Scott Norris said Victoria police did contact the BC Conservation Officer Service but police arrived in the area before conservation officers could attend.

“It was still mobile but it’s a very tenuous situation, very difficult to deal with because if you try to get too close to deal with the animal, there’s a good chance it’s going to run into traffic and cause more problems,” Norris said.

The buck was put down with a patrol rifle and the bolt was removed by police for evidence.

Norris said VicPD officers decided to put down the buck based on public safety and animal welfare, adding that conservation officers probably would have made the same decision if they had been in the area due to the difficulty of dealing with an injured animal in distress.

“It’s a very despicable act that someone has carried out by using a crossbow in an urban area which puts the public at risk,” Norris said.

He also added that it is illegal under the BC Wildlife Act to be hunting at this time of year in the urban area.

“It might have been done at night under the cover of darkness, which is another offence under the Wildlife Act,” Norris said.

Anyone who has information about who fired the crossbow is asked to call VicPD at 250-995-7654 or the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.