British Columbia

'We were just screaming': Harrowing encounter has Princeton, B.C. woman call for a deer cull

A woman in Princeton, B.C., is calling for a cull of deer in her community after a frightening encounter outside her home.

'Then the deer absolutely attacked and stomped my dog,' said Brittany Antonick

A Princeton, B.C., woman says a deer attacked her dog outside her home on Wednesday. (Brittany Antonick)

A woman in Princeton, B.C., is calling for a cull of deer in her community after a frightening encounter outside her home.

Brittany Antonick said she and her family were outside their home Wednesday afternoon, loading something into their truck when they saw a deer.

At the same time, a woman was walking by with a baby in a stroller and two leashed dogs.

Antonick said she saw the deer eyeing the woman's dogs. She ran over to the woman, and her dog followed.

"Then the deer absolutely attacked and stomped my dog," Antonick told Radio West Friday.

LISTEN | Brittany Antonick of Princeton, B.C. recounts harrowing deer encounter

A Princeton woman is calling for a cull of deer in her community after a frightening encounter outside her home

Her dog ran into the family truck, she says, then the deer turned to the woman, her baby and her dogs.

Antonick says she had them run into her house, and her husband managed to scare the deer away.

"We were just screaming," Antonick said.

"I was so worried about not only my child who was 10 feet away from us, but that little three-month-old in the stroller who was completely helpless and the poor mom. We were just all screaming, totally terrified of what was going to happen."

Antonick said she and her husband have dealt with the same deer before, and that the animal has fawns in the area.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says that during fawning season, does can be very protective of their newborn offspring, and may be aggressive towards dogs and humans.

Antonick says deer have become an increasing danger in Princeton, a problem made worse by people feeding the animals.

She is calling for a cull of the animals in her community. 

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne said human-deer interactions have been an issue in the community for about 20 years, but the number of deer-related calls they receive is not high enough to warrant a cull.

Residents who do have an interaction with wildlife should report it to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS), he says. They should also report anyone feeding deer.

"The more call volume the conservation service has, the more likelihood we'll get officers in the community working," Coyne said, noting that many choose not to contact conservation officers because they think an animal will be put down.

LISTEN | Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne on aggressive deer in the community

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne reacts to the concerns of problem deer in the community

Coyne, speaking to Radio West, said the closest officer is over an hour away in Merritt. Oftentimes, when someone reports an aggressive animal, it moves on before an officer arrives. 

He says it's always a contentious issue, and the decision to cull has to be done with co-operation from the province.

In a statement, the COS said the Ministry of Forests is responsible for managing urban deer populations together with municipalities. If a deer is aggressive toward people, conservation officers may get involved.

A series of guidelines on avoiding human-deer conflicts can be found on the COS website.

The forest ministry said it has supported municipalities with culls in the past through the Provincial Urban Deer Committee. Other mitigation methods can also be considered, and immuno-contraception is being tested.

With files from Radio West


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