A person mowing a vacant lot found a dead deer yesterday with an green arrow lodged in its right abdomen, in the first case of poaching this fall.
The person found the buck in a grassy lot on Ironwood Place near Claremont high school, around 1:45 p.m., and called the Saanich pound. Officers estimate the animal had been there for a one or two days.
Saanich pound investigators suspect the poacher shot the animal with a crossbow, and it bolted and fled an unknown distance.
The area is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, but Elk/Beaver Lake park is directly west, across the Pay Bay Highway. Herds of deer are also known to live in the Mount Doug area, to the southeast.
Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said pound officers have tallied three or four deer shot with arrows in the Claremont area in the past few years. “That area seems to be a focal point,” Jantzen said. “This animal appears to have fled from where it was struck. It is certainly a painful way to go.”
A photo released by the Saanich police shows the buck covered in flies, with an arrow with dark green fletchings (feathers) protruding from is rear-mid abdomen.
Saanich had nine known deer poaching instances in the fall of 2010, and four last fall, where people found animals with arrow wounds or with heads and limbs cut off. Witnesses reported a few living deer walking around with arrows sticking out of their bodies.
“This is a safety issue as much as a wildlife issue. Crossbows shoot with significant velocity and are capable of dropping a deer,” Jantzen said. “They are a high-velocity weapon.”
Police are reminding people that deer hunting in urban Greater Victoria is illegal, and contravenes municipal bylaws. Discharging weapons, including crossbows, in an urban area can bring criminal charges.
Anyone witnesses poaching or has information on this incident can call Saanich police at 250-475-4321.