Hunting might be a popular hobby in the Alberni Valley but it’s illegal within city limits, says conservation officer Steve Ackles.
Despite this, Ackles discovered a deer with its ear pierced by an arrow at Eighth Avenue and Alderwood Street this weekend—right in the middle of the city.
“This is probably the third one in this town this year,” said Ackles.
“What’s disturbing is that people are hunting within city limits.”
The arrow used was from a recurve or longbow, said Ackles, but sometimes more powerful weapons are used.
“It isn’t as powerful as a crossbow but the last one was a crossbow,” he said. A crossbow bolt can travel a fair distance and even punch through multiple walls, he added.
When deer are hit by any type of arrow, the consequences can be deadly for the animal.
“I’ve had to put deer down or immobilize them to pull the arrows out when they’ve had a chance of survival…a lot of times they’ll walk around with those arrows through them for days or weeks till we can get to them,” he said.
But even when Ackles does find the injured deer, trying to get the arrows out does more harm than good.
“People don’t realize that immobilization on an animal is extremely stressful. Deer especially, sometimes they die from what’s called ‘capture myopathy’,” he said.
“With the stress of the capture, they can die up to two weeks later. Their system shuts down, they don’t eat as much.”
Even if the shock doesn’t kill the deer, the weather this time of year might.
“They can’t regulate their body heat when we put them under with those drugs, so I could successfully immobilize it, take the arrow out, do my best to leave it in a good position under a tree for it to come out of the drugs… but it’s going to get hypothermia.”
With the deadly consequences of shooting at deer, Ackles said that the behaviour needs to stop.
“I’d like to talk to whoever has done this and get that behaviour stopped,” said Ackles.
While accidents happen, care needs to be taken if ever shooting outdoors. And if the shooting was intentional?
“If I deem that the person that was doing it had intent, I’d charge them. You’re not allowed to hunt within city limits and there is no open hunting season. It’s an unlawful act.”
Anyone who knows anything about deer being shot within city limits is encouraged to call 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or #7277 on a cell phone. Those reporting any information can remain anonymous.