Penticton woman stalked by deer

Conservation officer says all the incidents of aggressive deer he knows of have involved a dog

It’s not too often that you get a stalker of the non-human kind, but that’s exactly what happened for one Penticton resident while walking her dog last week.

Larissa Henschell had been walking her dog, a one-year-old malamute cross, up Green Avenue towards Valleyview Road, when they ran into a doe coming down the hill.

“First my dog started barking at it, so I expected it to run away, but instead it came towards us,” said Henschell. Her dog immediately returned to her, looking for protection, and Henschell decided it was best to get out of the deer’s way.

But the deer wasn’t giving up so easily.

“I would go away from the deer and it would follow us. I would go another direction and it would follow us again. At first, I thought it was just trying to get away from us, I was just trying to give it space, to move to the other side of the road and give it an opportunity to take off.”

When Henschell’s dog took off and ran home she thought the deer would give up and she would be able to walk home in peace.

She was wrong.

The insistent deer continued to follow Henschell, until it was finally driven off by a pair of men in a car. Even then, it took them a couple of tries, honking at it and trying to chase it away, eventually herding it into a yard.

Conservation officer Bob Hamilton is surprised the deer kept following Henschell, but he is not surprised the incident began with a dog. All of the conflicts with aggressive deer that he knows of have started with dogs, he said.

“Deer are taught from a young age that their enemy is coyote, and deer who have moved into town have seen this new type of coyote called a dog,” said Hamilton. “The deer have learned through experience that if you stand up to a dog, the dog will usually flee.”

Still, transferring the aggression to a human is unusual.  In this case, Hamilton said, the deer may need people to stand up to it. He says the prudent thing to do is get a good walking stick, a staff, and get into the habit of using it while walking.

“It aids in walking and certainly is a wonderful thing to have in your hand if you are feeling vulnerable,” said Hamilton. “What you don’t want to do, is you don’t want to run. These assertive deer have to have humans taking stands against them.”

While a deer cull is not imminent, the city is still in the process of determining if one would be necessary or effective, following up on the spring deer count.

“We’re in the process of getting ready for a fall count and getting the details together so we can advise council,” said Anthony Haddad, director of development services. These are all factors council will need to be fully informed of before making the decision whether or not a deer cull would be necessary or effective, said Haddad.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Manny Panghli is January’s Rotary Student of the Month. (Submitted)
Rotary Student of the Month a quiet and caring leader on and off-ice

Manny Panghli is January’s student of the month

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

The next Canadian census will be held in May, 2021. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is urging its residents to complete the census form online. (Statistics Canada)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges participation in census

National census will be held in May, 2021 with COVID-19 protocols in place

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Vernon firefighters douse a fire inside a cardboard bin behind the Shops at Polson off Highway 6 Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Dumpster fire behind Vernon shopping mall

Vernon Fire Rescue Services respond doused recycling bin fire backing onto Polson Park

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read