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'I had a 200-pound animal in my hands:' Island MLA recovering after battling deer

When Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker saw a buck attacking his yellow lab, he grabbed it by the antlers
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Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker is recovering after tangling with a deer that was attacking his dog. VIA ADAM WALKER

He has a nasty wound on his left leg, but Adam Walker is recovering after stepping in to rescue his dog when a deer attacked the pet in his Qualicum Beach driveway.

Last week, the Parksville-Qualicum MLA drove up to his house and saw a buck with a substantial set of antlers attacking his yellow lab, Pluto — the same deer he had helped about 15 minutes before when its antlers were stuck in a nearby tree.

“I jumped out of the car and ran into the fray,” he said. “I grabbed the deer by the antlers and picked it up with the intention of freeing the dog, and not really thinking too far ahead about the next steps.

“I had a 200-pound animal in my hands, or at least the antlers, and it was not in a happy mood.”

Walker said that he and the deer “did a little dance for 20 minutes,” during which he tried several times to release his grip but had the deer charge back at him when he did.

One of those charges led to a puncture wound about two or three inches deep in his leg that now has him hobbling around.

He said he tried unsuccessfully to make a hands-free phone call for assistance during the scrap, but his shouts for help were answered by his neighbour — who jumped in his still-running car and used it to nudge the deer away.

The deer finally got the message and ran off.

Walker’s wound was cleaned and sutured at the hospital, and he is now back to his regular activities.

“As an MLA, you get a mulligan for a day and then you’ve got to get back at it,” he said with chuckle. “I’m going to all my meetings.”

Nine-year-old Pluto had a few injuries and didn’t need to see a veterinarian, but sadly had to be put down Tuesday night due to an ongoing battle with cancer, Walker said. “It was completely unrelated to the deer incident.”

Walker said what he did could be considered dangerous, but he didn’t think twice before jumping in when he saw Pluto was in trouble. “In hindsight I would have found another way.”

A conservation officer responded after the attack was reported but the deer could not be located.

The Conservation Officer Service said in a statement that urban deer that have lost their natural fear of people — and particularly bucks during rutting season — can act aggressively toward people and pets. “The COS reminds the public to keep their distance from deer and other wildlife, never feed wildlife and consider precautions, such as leashing pets.”

WildSafeBC, an organization dedicated to preventing conflicts with wildlife, advises keeping fruit-tree branches trimmed and out of reach of deer, and making sure bird feeders are also well away from them. Homeowners should remove excess vegetation that deer could shelter in and consider installing wildlife-friendly fencing to keep them out of yards, the group said.

Anyone who sees a deer in distress is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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