Rudolph from Bowen Island? Residents spot deer with Christmas lights on antlers

·2 min read

It isn't one of Santa's reindeers. But a deer spotted on Bowen Island, B.C., has the makings of one thanks to Christmas lights strung around its antlers.

Residents of the island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Vancouver, have shared photos online of the deer's festive, albeit worrisome, attire.

Resident Shari Ulrich was out for a walk Saturday afternoon in the Cates Hill neighbourhood when she spotted the deer from afar.

"I thought, 'Is that really Christmas lights on its head?' " she recalled Monday.

She approached, and sure enough, discovered a tangle of lights ensnaring the deer's antlers — nearly 10 metres worth — with wires dangling down its neck.

"It looked odd and uncomfortable and wrong," she said.

Ulrich thought about freeing the deer from the lights. But once she stood a metre away, Ulrich stopped and noted the deer's "very pointy" antlers.

Officers monitor deer

Conservation officer Erich Harbich said that the lights aren't endangering the deer, but officers are keeping an eye on the animal.

"It's still able to eat, drink and feed itself and run away from danger if need be," he said.

"If there's anything concerning related to its mobility or ability to ... survive, then we step in at that point."

Harbich said the deer is middle-aged and likely picked up the lights while walking through a resident's yard. He said conservation officers have received several reports about the deer in recent weeks.

Harbich said residents should hang their lights at least two metres above the ground to avoid any deer getting tangled.

If the lights do need to be removed, Harbich said conservation officers would prefer to not sedate the deer.

It isn't the first time a deer in B.C. has been spotted with a new headpiece.

Last month, a deer in Prince Rupert was seen with a bright pink exercise ball stuck between its antlers.

And in 2017, a deer known as Hammy — also from Prince Rupert — sported the purple fabric of a hammock on its antler in 2017, drawing international headlines.

And now, there's Rudolph from Bowen Island.

"It's something you don't see every day," Harbich said.