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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows pickleball pro wins pair of medals in Toronto

Steve Deakin switched to the sport from tennis a couple years ago and never looked back

Maple Ridge wrestlers dominate provincials

‘Truly amazing,’ said Maple Ridge coach Bill McCrae

Looking Back: Student and youth protests go way back

Nothing new when it comes to carrying signs

LETTER: Pitt Meadows prof locks himself away to learn more about today’s budget

B.C. budget risks reducing life expectancy by over investing in medical care: Kershaw cites study

LETTER: ICBC changes a ‘breath of fresh air’

A Maple Ridge resident welcomes the new changes and impact on rates

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read