Conservation officers are investigating four cases in which deer were found to have been shot by an air gun or BB gun in Nanoose and Nanaimo.
Officers were called to the Hammond Bay area of Nanaimo last week after a fawn wandered into an active construction site and became trapped. The fawn appeared to be fine physically, but was unable to see.
After consultation with a wildlife veterinarian, officers determined the fawn likely had a medical condition or disease causing blindness, and that it would not survive.
Officers euthanized the deer. An examination the following day revealed the fawn had been shot in the head with an air rifle, and the blindness was caused by swelling in the brain as a result of the pellet.
The conservation office said hunters in the Oceanside region have recently found air or BB gun pellets in three deer in the Nanoose area.
They suspect residents are frustrated with deer eating their gardens, but are reminding people that it’s illegal to shoot deer with a BB or pellet gun, because the pellets are too small to kill but can cause significant injuries.
The Wildlife Act prohibits shooting any weapon at wildlife in a residential area.
Wild Safe B.C., a registered charity that provides education to reduce human and wildlife conflict, provides humane tips to deter deer from gardens and private property. Their recommendations include installing high or electrified fencing, keeping vegetation trimmed to prevent protective cover for deer, using motion activated lights or sprinklers and chasing deer away from the property.
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.