Frozen death better than no chance at all

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by admin on March 31, 2010

The Editor,

In defence of the Quebec conservation officers’ actions after the rescue of a deer from the Gatineau River in Wakefield, Quebec, I find the recent criticism in the Low Down to be unfortunate. To the few voices who have complained about the outcome, I say what if the story had read, ”Deer found shot dead, life was possible.”
Imagine the uproar. The deer was given the best shot possible, short of someone stepping up to take the poor thing home (no thanks, heard of too many through a windshield). Instead, the frozen animal went to sleep, dying at least more peacefully than by drowning, or maybe even from a bullet to the head.
If it was your dog that perhaps chased the deer onto the ice, are you now willing to have your pet brought down if it was found “unnaturally” chasing a deer? Deer, by the way, that will be randomly shot by the same conservation officer, with the deer population deemed too unnatural for Gatineau Park’s new conservation plan.
Don’t forget, the same officer will shoot your dog if it’s found chasing said given deer, possibly resulting in an unnatural death – of the deer. (Imagine this: “Officer shoots barking dog at edge of ice while deer drowns.” Again, in the officer’s defence, he is only doing his job based on mandate, and makes some gut decisions quickly on the fly. In the river incident, I think the right call was made.
Brave as the rescue was, the headline could have easily read, “Man found frozen stiff in Gatineau River beside frozen deer.” Guilty, as my own headline would have read, “Deer possibly died while man looking for his drysuit.”
Don’t get me too wrong, as I have absolutely nothing against the talents involved. I appreciate the outcome as it happened, and they said heroes gave the deer the right chance. Was it worth the risk? Still not sure.
Carsten Podehl
Wakefield, Quebec