A Vancouver Island resident had become used to a pregnant deer visiting her yard, but on Tuesday night the regular guest didn't look its usual self.

"Yesterday, we came home and she had an arrow sticking out of her head," said Heather Bertrand.

Bertrand, who lives in the Maple Bay area, called conservation officers — but says the the deer got spooked and took off into the bush when officers arrived.

She awoke Wednesday morning to another unsettling sight.

"This morning when I got up … she jumped up and she had her fawn with her. She had had a fawn during the night," said Bertrand.

B.C. Conservation officer Scott Norris said the deer had been shot through the face and neck with a crossbow.

"We're quite frustrated with the fact that someone would do this," said Norris, adding hunting is illegal in the area. "It's not a very humane way to hunt an animal."

Betrand said the deer seemed mobile and unaffected by the arrow.

"She's not stressed. It's not bleeding. If she was stressed she wouldn't even be coming over to our house."

deer shot in head with crossbow

Wildlife officers hope to remove the arrow and reunite the mother with its fawn. (Heather Bertrand)

Wildlife officers hope to catch the deer and tranquillize it in the next day or two so they can remove the arrow — and return the animal to its fawn.

"Hopefully she'll make a full recovery, but it's unknown in terms of infection," said Norris. "If she doesn't make it we'll try and get the fawn to Wild ARC, the SPCA rehab centre."

The newborn fawn is too young to survive very long by itself, says Christina Carriers, senior wildlife rehabilitator with the B.C. SPCA. 

"At this point if the baby is left alone and hungry, it will vocalize ... and hopefully someone will hear that and call us," said Carriers.

The penalty for illegal hunting under the wildlife act is a minimum fine of $345. The amount can significantly ​increase with a full prosecution, said Norris.