Hammy, B.C.'s most famous deer, no longer has his hammock — but his antler is still purple

Hammy, B.C.'s most famous deer, no longer has his hammock — but his antler is still purple

Hammy, the most famous deer in British Columbia, no longer has a purple hammock on his head.

The Prince Rupert buck made international headlines after being spotted wandering around the North Coast city with an eye-catching piece of purple fabric on his right antler.

Although the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said at the time he appeared to be doing fine, officers later worried the hammock could get tangled during rutting season  — a time when bucks like Hammy compete for does by locking antlers.

After Hammy managed to evade officers during an initial trip to Prince Rupert, he was successfully tranquilized on a return visit Nov. 23.

Officers monitored the deer until he came to and ate some food before Hammy wandered away, and said he appeared to be doing "great." They also put a small amount of purple paint on his antler to replace the hammock so he could still be identified  — at least until it falls off over the winter.

The officers said it is standard practice to tag animals they've tranquilized, but they chose to use purple in recognition of Hammy's fame.

International fame

"It's been kind of a neat experience to go through," said officer Zane Testawich. "People all over wanted to see where this story went." 

A Facebook group titled "Chronicles of Hammy the Deer" attracted over 1,000 members and its founder, Marcédes Mack, was interviewed by outlets ranging from Reuters to the BBC.

"It's huge," she said. "I don't even know where half these people are contacting me from... it's been crazy."

Mack was the person who discovered Hammy tangled in a neighbour's yard while visiting her family in Prince Rupert back in August. RCMP officers attended and cut him loose, but not before he dashed off with the now-famous fabric still tangled in his antler.

Mack said she wanted to know how the deer, which she nicknamed Hammy "for obvious reasons" was doing after she returned home, so she created the group as a way for people to share photos as they saw him around town.

His story soon exploded with residents creating Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes and t-shirts in tribute to the deer.

Hammock to be auctioned off

Mack said conservation officers said they would be sending her the hammock "since I contacted them first", but it won't be in her hands for long.

 She plans to give part of the hammock to the local museum "for historical purposes", with the rest being auctioned off to raise funds for the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Centre. Mack has also been advocating for conservation officers to be stationed in Prince Rupert, since right now they are called in from Terrace, 140 kilometers away.

She said although sharing the story of Hammy has been fun, she's happy it appears to be winding down.

"It's kept me so busy it's kind of ridiculous," she laughed. "I'm surprised it's not my part-time job."

The best of Hammy

Hammy inspired a number of tributes from people in Prince Rupert, and beyond. Here are a few.

With files from George Baker.