Oak Bay woman has scary encounter with deer amid protective fawning season

Oak Bay woman has scary encounter with deer amid protective fawning season
CHEK

It’s the time of year when deer are giving birth, and with the new babies, come newly protective does.

“She just kept coming,” said Jennifer Weston.

On Wednesday afternoon, Weston and her dog, Daisy, were doing their usual Oak Bay wander when Weston realized they were being stalked by a doe.

“I started yelling and kind of waving my arms because I didn’t know what to do. I thought maybe it’s like a bear attack, so make yourself really big,” said Weston.

Daisy joined in to help, barking at the deer which Weston says was only six feet (1.8 metres) away. The two were loud enough to draw their neighbours out who saved the day by distracting the deer, letting Daisy and Weston make their escape.

“I felt she was mostly focused on Daisy, and knowing a doe had stomped and kicked another dog in the neighbourhood a few days before, I was very worried she would get attacked,” said Weston.

“She has no street smarts! She does not know how to defend herself so I just felt really protective and didn’t really know what to do.”

Alina Fisher, a wildlife biologist, says the proper way to react to a deer is the opposite of a bear encounter.

“The best thing to do if someone comes across a deer is to give it a lot of room. That could be crossing to the other side of the street or just changing your route altogether, so you don’t get any closer,” Fisher told CHEK News in an email. “And noise can make a protective doe concerned, so it’s possible that it can encourage a deer to come closer to investigate the perceived threat.”

In West Kelowna, a female deer defending its fawn killed a chihuahua and sent a woman to hospital this week.

Experts say the deer are in new momma mode.

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“The does are giving birth to fawns and the fawns are quite young. They’re very new and small and in that they are very defenceless and at risk of being harmed or taken, so the does are going to be quite protective of their young,” said Lisa Lopez, program manager with WildSafeBC.

Lopez says dogs are seen as predators, so the does try to drive them away.

“If it’s a startling circumstance or they feel cornered…then they’re going to try to go through the dog,” said Lopez.

Weston and Daisy came out unscathed but will now be on the watch for does running defence during fawning season.

“It was really intimidating,” said Weston.

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