Thunder Bay·Video

'Carrot the magic deer' survives hunting bolt through its head in Kenora, Ont.

Deer are often seen in the streets of Kenora, Ont., with many calling the city's urban core home. Some choose to stay in the same neighbourhood - and become 'friendly' with those who live there.
Carrot the deer, who lives in Kenora, Ont., is still doing well, even though he was shot with a carbon arrow in the city. At this point, the best outcome for Carrot may be to leave the arrow until he sheds his antlers. (carrotthemagicdeer/Facebook)

Deer are often seen in the streets of Kenora, Ont., with many calling the city's urban core home.

Some choose to stay in the same neighbourhood — and become 'friendly' with those who live there.

Deer survives arrow to the head

2 years ago
Duration 0:25
Woman who cares for deer in Kenora, Ont., says bolt in its head may be preserving its life

The deer have such a routine, that Lee-Anne Carver took to naming a few of them. One is named Carrot. She first saw the deer about three years ago, when it was being cared for by a buck, who she named Potato.

"And he had this little fawn with him, this orphaned fawn, which bucks will often take orphaned fawns under their wing, and it was Carrot, or who would become Carrot."

Carver said naming the deer after vegetables just seemed to be the appropriate thing to do.

"He was exceptional, and he continues to come back."

"Carrot's personality is so unique, he's impossible to misidentify," she said, noting she's a wildlife photographer who has encountered hundreds of deer over the course of her career.

Carver said on Dec. 9, her husband went outside to see the deer and came back into their home crying, and said that Carrot had an arrow through his head.

"I barely understood what he was saying," she said.

"I went out to see Carrot and I was completely disturbed when I saw him."

"My understanding from the hunters who have been writing me, it's a carbon arrow, a lethal arrow for hunting. It would come out of a crossbow."

Carver said she believes the arrow came from above the deer, meaning somebody could have shot him from a window or a deck, as he was shot in a residential area.

The City of Kenora amended its bylaws in 2013 to make it legal to discharge a crossbow within the urban areas of the city. The City of Thunder Bay has a similar by-law which was enacted in 2012.

"It appears to be malicious to me, like an act of animal cruelty," she said, noting the "doorway was open for this to happen," with how city by-laws are written. 

Carver said she's amazed at the outpouring of support for the deer, noting she's received letters from as far away as Australia and South Africa. 

"People are watching him everywhere, and that's something I couldn't have anticipated," she said, thinking some local people might care about the plight of Carrot when she first created a Facebook page for him. She thought she would also get some consternation, as he could also represent an issue with hunting in the city.

"On this one, it brought cultures together, hunters and non-hunters," she said, "everybody's had this unified voice for him, of compassion and care."

Carver said part of the challenge for Carrot's recovery, is there is no large-animal veterinarian in Kenora to deal with this type of issue.

"The consensus is the bolt in the head, as disturbing as it is, may actually be preserving his life at this point," she said. "It appears to have cauterized the wound, sealed the arteries. Removal could cause severe infection or death from the bleeding."

Carver said there is a risk to tranquilizing Carrot, which could pose additional complications that could also put his life at risk. She said at this point the best solution may be to leave the arrow in his head.

"We all have a natural inclination to take it out, but that's not necessarily the best medicine," she said, noting there is "nothing life threatening, no signs of infection, it's just disturbing."

"If that wound heals as we suspect, and his antlers drop, that arrow should slide out easily," Carver said, hoping that could happen within three months.

Carver said she spoke with a Conservation Officer in B.C. who made that recommendation and noted that the arrow could slide out once his antlers drop.

She said the other issue is even though Carrot is used to people, he is still a wild animal and if somebody put their arms between his antlers, it could be a dangerous situation for both deer and human.

Carver said she has spoken to the owner of a local hunting store, who said cutting the arrow would also be an issue, as it was made of a carbon fibre, which could splinter and then infect Carrot.

"The key thing we can do right now is try to protect him with our voices. And that global voice coming out for him is doing just that. It's shining the spotlight on him, and people want him to be okay."


Jeff Walters


Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.


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