Deer killed by crossbow, officials say
Nanaimo conservation officers discover three animals struck by high-powered
Conservation officers on Vancouver Island fear a hunter is sniping at deer
with a high-powered crossbow after three of the animals were felled by bolts
from the weapon.
Two of the deer died, but conservation officers managed to save one, which
was wandering the forest on the outskirts of Nanaimo with a crossbow bolt
through its neck.
The attacks have alarmed area residents, who have flooded the local
conservation office with reported sightings of the injured animals.
The first deer was found dead on the driveway of a Nanaimo resident last
October with a bolt in its chest.
Another, a young male, was put down after conservation officers discovered
the buck with a bolt in its upper hind leg.
"The arrow had been hitting branches and just irritating the wound," said
Nanaimo conservation officer Steve Ackles.
(A crossbow bolt is approximately 45 centimetres long, compared with an
arrow, which is typically about 60 centimetres long. The bolt's tips are
three-sided blades, similar in size and appearance to a razor blade.)
A crossbow is a lethal weapon, Mr. Ackles noted. Discharging it without a
permit in a populated area is illegal.
The attacks have angered crossbow enthusiasts, who say the shootings are
cruel and unethical. One group, the Traditional Bowhunters of British
Columbia, has offered a reward for information that leads to the arrest of
"This incident kind of gives hunters a bad name," spokesman Dennis Bonwick
told a local radio station.
"It's kind of a black mark. It's unethical; it's illegal. You're breaking
all kinds of laws."
The shootings have occurred in a forested region of Nanaimo near the
Departure Bay ferry terminal. The populated area is home to about 100 deer,
considered by some residents to be a nuisance. Some deer eat outdoor plants
and trek through backyard gardens, Mr. Ackles said.
In late November, conservation officers received reports of a deer with an
arrow through its neck. Mr. Ackles said each time officers spotted the
animal, it ran off. The officers chased the deer for two weeks before they
subdued it with a tranquilizer.
Officers removed the arrow and flushed the wound with antibiotics. Despite
the gruesome appearance of the injury, the deer recovered and was set free.
"[The arrow] went right through its neck," Mr. Ackles said. "I don't know
how it missed all the vital arteries and nerves and the bone, but it did.
"It was very mobile, surprisingly enough, with an arrow through its neck,"
he said, adding the animal is "a very resilient deer."
Mr. Ackles said the shootings could be the work of an angry resident or even
a poacher. The conservation office has received about 20 tips so far but has
made no arrests.
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