Stranded deer rescued from frozen lake near Kamloops

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

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Nanaimo RCMP sought help in locating Jada Charlie-Carlson, 17. (Nanaimo RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP say 17-year-old girl who was missing has been found safe

Police sought help in locating teen who hadn’t seen her family members for a month

Brian McFadden, vice-president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, shows elements of a new exhibit there that examines some of the horrors and hardships for women and children in prison camps during First and Second World Wars. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women in prison camps persevered

Letter writer shares her mother’s recollections of prison camp in Java during Second World War

A light display on Northumberland Avenue was recognized as one of the best in the city last year. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce photo)
Nanaimo’s Christmas light-up event renamed Illuminight

Judging will take place the evening of Dec. 13

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read