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Fort St. John
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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Deer in distress: How do Conservation Officers respond?

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“Another one deer here had its back leg ripped off and it was having trouble walking; trying to jump fences and falling down,” concerned Hudson’s Hope resident, Susan Soderstrom said. “It was in pain. I phoned in and the Conservation Officer said ‘Oh you’re just too kind-hearted. If it was out in the bush, it would still suffer but you wouldn’t see it,’ and I said, ‘Yea but if it was out in the bush, a wolf would eat it and it wouldn’t be suffering.'”

Soderstrom adds, “The deer suffered in town for like a year and a half before it finally got put down.”

As far as the most recent incident is concerned, wire embedded around a deer, Soderstrom called the RCMP and Conservation Officer, who did see the distressed animal, but when approached, it scurried off into the bush.

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Again, Soderstrom says when she called the RCMP for an update on the deer’s condition; she was told the Conservation Officer isn’t too concerned as the wild animal managed to run away.

“It would be nice to see at least the wires clipped so she can eat without being in pain,” Soderstrom said.

The Conservation Officer who attended the scene, Murray Booth says while a wire entangled around a deer isn’t ideal, the animal is not in such pain that officers should intervene.

“If I thought for a second or minute that the deer was in distress, or suffering, or a threat to public safety; we’d do something more,” Officer Booth said. “For the time being, we’re just watching what’s going on with it.”

Soderstrom concludes by saing she’s under the impression that Conservation Officers have yet to put down the deer because it’s been seen with her babies being fed.

Officer Booth says while that could be a part of his reasoning, putting down an animal is always a last resort.

“Unfortunately, sometimes that’s what has to happen. We’re not going to let anything suffer.”

If you do sight a wildlife animal in distress, contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline 24/7 at 1 877 952 7277, which will direct you to an operator who will then contact the first available Conservation Officer.

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