British Columbia·Video

Red-nose rage: Aggressive deer keep attacking this Rudolph decoration

A Rudolph-themed decoration in Fort Nelson, B.C., is taking quite the beating from young male deer in the area. Owner Arlene Chmelyk believes it's because the white-tailed deer in the area can't seem to tell the difference between a Christmas ornament and a rival buck competing for attention from female deer.

Young bucks in Fort Nelson, B.C., don't seem to like competition from this red-nosed upstart

Arlene Chmelyk's homemade Rudolph decoration regularly attracts negative attention from rutting white-tailed deer in her Fort Nelson, B.C., neighbourhood. (Submitted by Arlene Chmelyk)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was famously left out of reindeer games. In fact, all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.

However, at no point in the classic Christmas song do the other reindeer head-butt and stomp the living daylights out of Rudolph.

But that's what keeps happening to a Rudolph-themed decoration in Fort Nelson, B.C., where young male deer can't seem to tell the difference between a Christmas ornament and a rival buck competing for the attention of female deer.

"Every year a buck in the area attacks him or hits and knocks him over and breaks him," said Arlene Chmelyk, who lives in the northern B.C. city about 160 kilometres south of the Yukon border.

WATCH | Rudolph stalked and attacked by rival buck: 

Deer attacks Rudolph decoration in Fort Nelson, B.C.

2 years ago
Duration 0:43
Arlene Chmelyk came home to find her Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer decoration trampled on the ground. She checked her security camera and discovered the culprit was a real-life deer taking down a perceived challenger.

The decoration is actually a 3D archery target that replicates the size and shape of a white-tailed deer. Chmelyk's family first put it up as a decoration five years ago.

But she's not sure why it's realistic enough to keep fooling the actual deer that wander around her neighbourhood every winter, especially since her husband added a red light bulb to its face.

"I'm like, he has a bright red nose," she said. "I'm not really sure what they see."

Her main theory is that the decoration is on display during rutting season when male bucks start competing with rivals for female attention, often with little regard to their surroundings. The replica does have a large set of antlers, which could make it a target.

'Rudolph' is a 3D archery target with a red lightbulb on its nose. (Arlene Chmelyk)

Chmelyk says her ornament, which is dubbed "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Whitetail," has taken quite a few beatings over the years. Rudolph has lost his head, legs and other body parts, which are then glued on again for another Christmas season.

And just like the real Rudolph, Chmelyk says her version is resilient and will continue to shine brightly for years to come — no matter how much the neighbourhood deer try to get rid of him.

"He's standing proud," she said. 

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Andrew Kurjata

CBC Prince George | @akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is an award-winning journalist covering Northern British Columbia for CBC Radio and, situated in unceded Lheidli T'enneh territory in Prince George. You can email him at You can also send encrypted messages using Signal or iMessage to 250.552.2058.