Stranded deer rescued from frozen lake near Kamloops

Kamloops Search and Rescue said the doe was on the ice for 30 hours

Two members of a British Columbia search crew carried out an unusual rescue this week after they received a call about a deer stranded on an ice-covered lake.

Mike Ritcey and a fellow member of Kamloops Search and Rescue received a call from a woman who spotted the deer on Tunkwa Lake, about 80 kilometres west of Kamloops.

The pair sprang into action on Monday and decided to personally help the deer, although it wasn’t an official Kamloops Search and Rescue operation.

“It was the right thing to do,” Ritcey said, adding the doe was on the ice for at least 30 hours. “When they get out on the ice and they lay there, it’s a bad deal. The birds eat them alive.”

He said he took precautions testing the ice every step of the way. Once he reached the doe, he said he threw a scarf over its eyes to calm it down and rolled it onto a plastic toboggan to pull it back to shore.

“We helped stand it up and the thing took off,” he said, adding that it didn’t appear to have any broken bones and there was no sign of blood.

READ: Hammy the deer has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

This wasn’t the first time Ritcey came to the rescue of a stranded deer. He said there was another case a few years ago, but in that instance the deer was badly injured and had to be euthanized.

The B.C. Conservation Service says an officer received a call about the deer on Sunday, but due to a miscommunication, he thought the complaint had been dealt with when it hadn’t.

Spokesman Tobe Sprado says it’s not unusual for deer to flee to frozen lakes while being chased by predators and then be unable to get up from the ice.

“For whatever reason, they look at the lake as being a bit of a refuge,” he says. “We get calls every year about stranded deer in ice.”

He says conservation offers do not typically rescue deer in such situations.

“It’s a risky situation, to be putting your life at risk for saving a deer,” he says.

“We usually let nature run its course in a lot of these incidents. The other option, if we feel it’s in public interest and to prevent suffering of the animal, we would possibly attend and euthanize that wildlife.”

Another option the service would “possibly consider” would be to reach out to other entities, such as search and rescue or municipal fire departments, who would have the equipment and training to save the deer, he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

IV cancer treatment returning to Haida Gwaii

Arrival of a new pharmacy technician means the service can resume

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

Bachrach one of eight endorsed by non-profit advocacy group LeadNow

LeadNow is working independently to get the climate vote out in eight different ridings

Haida artist and protesters fight to protect cedar forest in Masset, court decision looms

Robert Davidson filed an affidavit seeking to stop the cutting, while protesters form blockade

On the Wing: Reflections on forests and fog

“On Haida Gwaii it seems as though nothing has changed.”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read