Downtown Winnipeg deer herd rounded up, guided back to river
'The perfect outcome,' conservation officer says after deer shooed away from downtown
A small herd of deer that wandered into downtown Winnipeg on Monday morning has made its way to the riverbank with the help of conservation officers and emergency crews.
Manitoba Conservation said it received several calls at around 11:30 a.m. from people who spotted six to 12 deer running in parts of the downtown area, including the University of Winnipeg campus on Portage Avenue.
Emergency crews and conservation officers caught up with four of the deer on Colony Street between Broadway and St. Mary Avenue shortly before noon.
Officers asked onlookers to stay back and traffic was briefly blocked on Colony and Broadway so the deer could make their way toward the Assiniboine River.
"It's awesome. It's the perfect outcome," said Joe Johannesson, a Manitoba Conservation district supervisor for Winnipeg.
"I got the Winnipeg Police Service to block off Broadway, and we got to chase them all the way down the river, which worked very well."
Among those who saw the deer was Kathrina Enns, who said her small children really wanted to get up close with the four-legged wanderers.
"They're excited. They want to follow them. They want to know what they're about. They know that they're babies. They wanted to touch them," she said.
"When we first saw them, my youngest was running towards them and I was like, 'What are you doing?!'"
Jade Kindzierski said he called the City of Winnipeg's 311 service line when he saw the four deer standing beside his parked van near Colony and Broadway.
"Before I even got off the phone with them, the fire department was here," he said. "Then they [the deer] ran back in that little area there; probably a little bit safer for them."
1 deer injured
Johannesson estimated the deer were at least a year old. One of them had what looked like a broken leg just above the hoof, but he said the deer was still able to run with the rest of the pack.
"One of them did have a badly injured back leg, but it was very mobile," he said in an interview Monday afternoon. "There are a lot of deer with injured legs like that."
Officers would look at putting down animals if they are badly injured and cannot move, he added.
Johannesson said he has received reports of at least one or two deer in downtown Winnipeg or in an urban backyard every year for the past four years.
In such cases, he said, conservation officers do what they did in this case — keep onlookers away so the deer can relax a bit, then help the animals move toward the river.
Johannesson said in addition to calling Manitoba Conservation, there's one thing urban dwellers should do if they spot wildlife in the city.
"The main thing is, just like any wild animal, just leave it alone and let it calm down and don't spook it into traffic or spook it out of your yard," he said.