A group of people in Pointe-Verte, N.B., risked danger on Wednesday to rescue a deer that got stuck in deep snow on the beach.
The villagers say they didn't hesitate, but wish the Department of Natural Resources had taken action to avoid the deer getting trapped.
They say about a dozen deer have been forced out of the forest and onto the beach in search of food, due to the heavy snowfall in recent weeks.
During the daytime, the deer are often afraid to cross the road back into the forest and sometimes travel along the dangerous coastline instead.
On Wednesday, a doe ended up completely buried.
"I kept watching since the morning and all of a sudden, I didn't see the animal anymore," said Jacques Roy.
"I thought it drowned and my heart was broken. But it's there," he said, fighting back emotion.
Roy and other bystanders acted quickly, using their hands to dig away the snow, a rope to help pull the deer out and a sled to get it to safety.
The deer, shivering, in pain and exhausted, put up a fight, growling at her rescuers.
But they gave her hay, a blanket and a name — Françoise.
"We're kind of a family," said Francoise Frenette.
The Department of Natural Resources will be transporting the deer to a more suitable habitat, but the rescuers contend something should have been done before the rescue became necessary.
"Natural Resources should get involved and help these animals to safety," said Roy.
"I called early this morning at eight o'clock and the response from the lady I spoke to was that she would transmit the information. But I heard many people called, and nothing is happening," he said.
Denis Richard, a fish and wildlife technician with the Department of Natural Resources, says if the deer are just roaming around, there isn't much they can do.
"We just go look at the situation. We will usually go if there's a deer that is stranded or injured, we will act right away, but for a deer around the community, it's quite normal," he said.
Ricard did say, however, that having so many deer populating the shores of Pointe-Verte, located about 30 km north of Bathurst, is unusual.