Help on the way for deer with arrow in head
By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 12, 2018
Permission has been granted to allow a veterinarian to tranquilize and assist a deer that has been spotted in Haliburton with an arrow in its head.
Dave Allen, who lives on Sunnyside Street in Haliburton, was appalled when he saw a fawn at his deer feeder with an arrow sticking out of its head.
The former bowhunter first saw the wounded deer close to New Year's Day. He said the sight of the deer was disturbing and not reflective of responsible hunting practices.
Allen sought help for the deer, which was first spotted close to Christmas, by contacting
Monika Melichar of the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, a wildlife rehabilitation facility near Minden. She had been working on getting someone to tranquilize the wounded animal in order to make an assessment on how to help, if possible.
Unable to tranquilize the animal herself, she sent a photo taken by the Echo on to someone who could: Howard Smith of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Muskoka. However, Smith was leaving for holidays and was not due back until Jan. 17.
On Friday morning, Melichar said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provided the necessary approval for veterinarian Dr. Sherri Cox of the National Wildlife Centre, located in Caledon, to come to Haliburton and “dart the deer and remove the arrow," she said.
"Then if needed, the deer will be rehabbed by us for a bit until we are sure there is no sign of trauma or infection.”
Cox, who has been out of the country and is returning Saturday, was sent the same Echo photo.
Not only can Cox tranquilize the deer, but she can also administer the necessary care.
The public is encouraged to report an accurate schedule of the deer's movements to assist with the effort, which is hoped to happen soon, possibly Sunday or this coming Wednesday. (Sightings can be emailed to email@example.com who will pass them on.)
A radio collar may be affixed to follow the movements of the deer and learn about “success back in the wild” following the treatment, particularly since the deer will have to survive with one eye.
“It would be a most valuable study and of special interest to Dr. Sherri Cox, who is also a professor on staff at Guelph University,” she said.
This incident isn't the first time for Melichar.
She has been operating the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, a registered charity, since she moved to Minden in 2008. Since then there have only been two other cases she has come across with a deer left with an arrow in it.
In one case, there was a deer with an arrow in its neck, which worked its way out after two weeks and the other was spotted a few times by the public and then disappeared.
Steve Galea, an Echo columnist and a bowhunter with more than 30 years' experience, was saddened when he was sent the image of the deer.
"No knowledgeable bowhunter would intentionally try to shoot a deer in the head," he said. "It is an unethical and unreliable shot that we avoid. We are trained to aim for the heart/lung areas which results in a quick, clean kill and very high likelihood of recovery. I'm saddened to see this animal suffering as I'm sure all good hunters are."
The deer hunting season ended on Dec. 15. The first report of the deer was made after this date.
The OPP and the MNRF received calls following Christmas Day.
Adam Challice, MNRF management biologist out of the Minden Field Office for Bancroft District said, “Generally, when MNRF receives reports of diseased or injured wildlife, we help landowners and municipalities by referring them to the appropriate agency (e.g. Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative) and by providing education and advice. In this case, MNRF has been in contact with the OPP.”
He directs the public towww.ontario.ca/page/rescue-sick-injured-or-abandoned-wild-animal for more information on sick, injured, or abandoned animals.