Warning issued after aggressive deer attacks jogger on Vancouver Island

A B.C. conservation officer is urging people in Victoria to be cautious around deer during mating season as bucks have attacked dogs and at least one person.

'There's a whole bunch of them running around out there, all banged-up and doing crazy things'

B.C. conservation officer Peter Pauwels says attacks by rutting bucks are almost always directed at dogs. (Germán Poo-Caamaño/Flickr)

A B.C. conservation officer is warning Island residents to be "particularly vigilant" after a jogger was attacked by a large buck earlier this week in Victoria's Gonzales neighbourhood. 

Conservation officer Peter Pauwels says he's been receiving several calls a week about dangerous interactions with bucks.

He's advising people with dogs on Vancouver Island to be "particularly vigilant" amid increased attacks by rutting deer.

'It's always involving a dog'

Pauwels said the attack on the woman is the first report so far of a person injured by a buck, but in other cases, "It's always involving a dog," he said. 

That was the case on Sunday for Sarah Hannay when the family pet went into their fenced back yard in suburban Saanich and encountered a "fairly large buck" missing an antler on one side.

She said the dog ran at the buck and the buck retaliated and charged at the dog.

"It got her [the dog] with the side of its head that didn't have antlers, then stood over and urinated on it," Hannay said. The dog was not injured.

"It's dangerous. I also have a seven-year-old," Hannay said."It easily could have been him."

B.C. conservation officer Peter Pauwels is warning Victoria-area residents, particularly those with dogs, about an increase in attacks by rutting bucks. (Province of BC)

Pauwels said deer in urban areas have completely lost their fear of humans. 

"If you have a dog, you have to be particularly vigilant because deer don't like dogs at the best of times," he said.

Pauwels said no dogs have been killed so far this year but injuries — usually by hooves, not antlers — do occur. 

"It's [been] mating season or as we call it, 'the rut,' for the last couple of weeks and for the next couple of weeks," he said.

'They do strange things'

"They become aggressive. They become very unpredictable. They do strange things," Pauwels said. "They're preoccupied. They're not paying attention. They're also running around getting hit by vehicles.

"They're fighting each other and injuring each other and there's a whole bunch of them running around out there, all banged up and doing crazy things."

While the attacks on dogs are frightening, Pauwels said, "People should be more concerned about the interaction between deer and motor vehicles."

People are more likely to be seriously injured or even killed in a vehicle collision with a buck, he said.