Hammy, B.C.'s most famous deer, no longer has his hammock — but his antler is still purple

A Prince Rupert, B.C., deer who made international headlines for wandering around town with a purple hammock on his head no longer has his eye-catching headwear.

Conservation officers removed the hammock, which will be raffled off for the local wildlife shelter

The story of Hammy was shared far and wide, garnering coverage in international news services including the BBC and Reuters. (David MacKenzie)

Hammy, the most famous deer in British Columbia, no longer has a purple hammock on his head.

The Prince Rupert buck made international headlines after being spotted wandering around the North Coast city with an eye-catching piece of purple fabric on his right antler.

Although the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said at the time he appeared to be doing fine, officers later worried the hammock could get tangled during rutting season  — a time when bucks like Hammy compete for does by locking antlers.

Hammy was tranquilized so officers could remove the hammock from his head. (Conservation Officer Service)

After Hammy managed to evade officers during an initial trip to Prince Rupert, he was successfully tranquilized on a return visit Nov. 23.

Officers monitored the deer until he came to and ate some food before Hammy wandered away, and said he appeared to be doing "great." They also put a small amount of purple paint on his antler to replace the hammock so he could still be identified  — at least until it falls off over the winter.

The officers said it is standard practice to tag animals they've tranquilized, but they chose to use purple in recognition of Hammy's fame.

Although the hammock is gone, a small portion of purple remains on Hammy's antlers. (Terrace Conservation Officer Service)

International fame

"It's been kind of a neat experience to go through," said officer Zane Testawich. "People all over wanted to see where this story went." 

A Facebook group titled "Chronicles of Hammy the Deer" attracted over 1,000 members and its founder, Marcédes Mack, was interviewed by outlets ranging from Reuters to the BBC.

"It's huge," she said. "I don't even know where half these people are contacting me from... it's been crazy."

Hammy's movements are tracked by devoted fans. (Kaylee Lynne Stephen)

Mack was the person who discovered Hammy tangled in a neighbour's yard while visiting her family in Prince Rupert back in August. RCMP officers attended and cut him loose, but not before he dashed off with the now-famous fabric still tangled in his antler.

Mack said she wanted to know how the deer, which she nicknamed Hammy "for obvious reasons" was doing after she returned home, so she created the group as a way for people to share photos as they saw him around town.

His story soon exploded with residents creating Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes and t-shirts in tribute to the deer.

Hammock to be auctioned off

Mack said conservation officers said they would be sending her the hammock "since I contacted them first", but it won't be in her hands for long.

Hammy 'strutting his stuff' on Prince Rupert's 6th Ave. East bridge. (Sara Jordan)

 She plans to give part of the hammock to the local museum "for historical purposes", with the rest being auctioned off to raise funds for the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Centre. Mack has also been advocating for conservation officers to be stationed in Prince Rupert, since right now they are called in from Terrace, 140 kilometers away.

She said although sharing the story of Hammy has been fun, she's happy it appears to be winding down.

"It's kept me so busy it's kind of ridiculous," she laughed. "I'm surprised it's not my part-time job."

Frances Riley of Haley Apparel created a custom T-shirt inspired by Hammy the deer. 'He looks both noble and ridiculous,' she said. Money from the shirt was given to the local wildlife shelter. (George Baker/CBC)

The best of Hammy

Hammy inspired a number of tributes from people in Prince Rupert, and beyond. Here are a few.

Leah Thams has created custom Christmas ornaments with proceeds going to the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Centre. (Leah Thams)
A Hammy Christmas ornament created by children at a daycare in Prince Rupert. (Morgan Wilson)
Dwayne MacNeill gave a wildlife mural in Prince Rupert a touch of purple in tribute to Hammy. (Dwayne MacNeill)
Melody Halas created Hammy Christmas cookies. (Melody Halas)
A wanted poster of Hammy was created when conservation officers announced their intention to tranquilize him and remove the hammock from his antler. (Photo: David MacKenzie Poster: Diane Gent)
Tracy Rempel repurposed some decorations for a holiday tribute to Hammy. (Tracy Rempel)
Nikki Humpherville's nails were inspired by Hammy. (Nikki Humpherville)
Shelly Samuels' four-legged friend MJ gets into the Hammy spirit. (Shelly Samuels)

With files from George Baker.

About the Author

Andrew Kurjata

@akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is a radio producer and digital journalist in northern British Columbia, situated in the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh in Prince George.