British Columbia

East Kootenay woman severely injured by aggressive doe during fawning season

A woman in Kimberley, B.C., has learned a painful lesson about how aggressive does can be during the fawning season.

WildSafeBC asks the public to leave fawns alone, watch for signs of aggression from deer

A doe accompanied by her fawn. (photo credit: Janice Whybourne )

A woman in Kimberley, B.C., has learned a painful lesson about how aggressive does can be during the fawning season.

Last Wednesday, Liz Royer and her Australian shepherd and blue heeler mix Patchy were attacked by a doe while she was running at around 5 a.m. MT near the intersection of Rotary Drive and Knighton Road.

WildSafeBC said it believes the doe has fawns bedding down in the area where Royer passed by.

Royer, 58, was sent to the hospital after the doe's hooves left her two big gashes on her legs, a bullet hole-shaped wound on her ankle and bruises all over her body.

"I was in so much pain I could not walk, so I had to just lie around for two days," she said Thursday to Sarah Penton, the host of CBC's Radio West.

Royer said she has always stayed as far away from deer as possible, but it didn't help in this case.

"I heard some rustling in the bush and I thought, 'Oh darn! It was bears again,' because sometimes I've seen them there before," she said. "I thought, 'Well, we better turn around,' and before I know it, there's a deer standing right on the paved road.

"It just had those eyes and it just charged up."

Liz Royer and her Australian shepherd and blue heeler mix Patchy were attacked by a doe last Wednesday morning when she was out for a run. (Submitted by Liz Royer)

Royer said she backed up and kept running — until she fell on the bank along Mark Creek and was caught by the animal.

"I started kicking and I started punching her back and screaming," she said.

Patchy began barking at the doe, which then chased the dog instead. Royer said she might have been hurt more severely if her dog hadn't intervened. 

Patchy wasn't injured by the doe, but rather barked at the doe to distract her from Royer. (Submitted by Liz Royer)

Danica Roussy, WildSafeBC co-ordinator in Kimberley and Cranbrook, said fawns are scentless — a characteristic that protects them from predators — and are often left unattended in a shady area by their mothers. 

Roussy asked the public to leave the fawns alone and watch out for aggressive signs from the does.

"The first sign would be to lower their ears," she said on Radio West. "Then they lower their head and neck…. Some deers, if you're lucky, will give you a third warning, which is to stand in their spot and hoof the ground a little bit."

Royer said from now on she will run outdoors with a friend or at a gym during the fawning season.

With files from Radio West and Sarah Penton

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