The chase

White-tailed deer in Nose Hill Park this afternoon.

While looking in vain for little birds in a copse of trees, I saw a blur of movement on the grassy slope on the other side of the valley. I think two dogs were chasing the deer. Besides the four deer, I saw an orangy blur and tan blur. By the time I started taking photos, blurs 5 and 6 had complied with their owners insistent “here” calls.

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16 Comments

  1. OMG! Why weren’t the dogs on a leash? I totally understand why pets are not allowed in certain parks, and why if they are they have to be on a leash! I’m glad the deer got away scared but unmolested by the dogs.

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    1. Thanks for your interesting and deer-friendly comment Deborah. I looked up Calgary’s dog rules for Nose Hill Park and it turns out that about one third of the park is designated as off-leash. I find this unusual because the park is huge (11 square kilometers) and is considered a natural environment park. Other parks that are designated natural environments are on-leash everywhere but for some reason this park is different. Most of the park is native fescue grasslands and some sections of the park have small aspen stands. A lot of wildlife lives there, including deer, coyotes and porcupines (and I’m looking forward to the hawks hunting for mice and other small mammals this spring and summer!). From a few quick web searches, it seems the city and most of the park users are more concerned with coyotes chasing dogs than dogs chasing other wildlife. There are also concerns with off-leash dogs getting caught in coyote leg traps (rubber traps used for a University of Calgary study) but these are all in on-leash areas and far from trails. Calgary has a lot of dog owners and they tend to be a large proportion of park users so the city has an obligation to provide park space for them.

      I don’t know Nose Hill Park very well. I just moved nearby. I went again 2 days later and noticed that most dogs were on leash and those that were off-leash tended to stay close to their owner and appeared well trained. To respect city bylaws, owners who do choose to walk their dogs off-leash must be able to control their dogs with voice commands. It seems to me that this was the case in this short deer chase. The dogs responded to their owners calls quite quickly. It is unfortunate that the dogs scared the deer. On my most recent visit, I went to a large flat grassy area further north and saw about 15 deer. They were grazing and seemed quite relaxed even though pedestrians, cyclists and dogs were passing by on the trails bordering their large grazing field. Maybe this means that the park users don’t usually cause them too much trouble. I did see one deer with a few chunks of hair missing on its thigh. I wonder what happened there.

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      1. Huh, it does seem a bit strange if it’s a natural environment park that the dogs can be off leash in some parts.

        Most of the natural reserves, and open space parks here where I live are No PETS! Or have to be on a leash at all times. We have other parks that are pet friendlier, and there are lots of “dog parks”.

        Let’s hope dogs don’t chase the deer very often and this was a one off. 🙂

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        1. There are some “no pet” and “always on-leash” places here too. I assume some areas of Nose Hill are off-leash because people have found it to be mostly harmonious. Hopefully I will mostly see deer slowly eating in peace, though I did find their running quite beautiful.

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  2. Beautiful action Myriam, it must have very exciting to witness these beautiful deer. I’m so glad they were not injured in any way. I agree the comment from circa.

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    1. Thanks for your deer appreciation and sympathy Sharon. I don’t think dogs can harm deer unless they hunt and corner them in a pack. But I could be wrong. Dog management in wildlife parks in a big-ish city can be tricky. There are so many dog owners who like walking their dogs in a beautiful, natural setting. Usually that issue is dealt with by imposing on-leash laws but for some reason this park has large off-leash areas. If owners choose not to walk their dogs on a leash, they are required to have good voice control. This protects both the dog and the wildlife, since some wildlife, like coyotes and porcupines, can harm dogs.

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  3. Great action shots – deer are beautiful flashing that white tail.
    Around here dogs can get shot for chasing deer. Back in the 70s, two of my neighbors had dogs that became pals and would take off on jaunts together, always returning well spent. One day we were driving on a nearby road, and a deer sailed THROUGH the two guide wires on the guardrails, nearly skidded with our car, spun around and leap back into the woods. It was foaming as the mouth and clearly was being pursued. We moved soon after and a few months later ran into one of the neighbors who told us the dogs had returned one day full of buck shot. A big vet bill, but they survived. I wonder if they learned their lesson?

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    1. Wow! Glad you didn’t have a car accident! I can’t imagine your old neighbours let the dogs roam free after that!

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  4. Fun shots! I like watching deer run. They’re graceful. 🙂 I just noticed your new header…it is awesome! Love the yellow Ys!

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    1. Thanks Teresa :-)! I do like the brightness of the yellow but the yellow and light blue kind of remind me of a baby’s room or store. I can’t seem to think of another colour combo that would go with flying geese, so I’ll stick with blue and yellow for now. I’m always amazed that deer can run so fast through woods and on uneven, bushy ground. So cool!

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      1. They’re built for sprinting! 🙂

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  5. Great shots! We have plenty of them around here. They are beautiful and fun to watch as long as they are not in my garden.

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    1. Thank you 🙂 . They are not usually popular garden visitors 😀 ! I wonder if anyone uses pet dogs to chase them out?

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  6. I use my dogs to chase rabbits, and if deer ventured in my garden I’m sure they would oblige me with them as well. 🙂 I love these shots you got. I am impressed that these dogs returned when called. Mine are pretty well trained but I doubt they would have given up such an exciting chase. I don’t think deer face many predators these days and getting chased for a few moments by dogs wouldn’t be much stress. Dog owners can be great nature lovers/advocates so it is good that there are places they can enjoy their two loves.

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    1. Very handy that your dogs are rabbit patrollers :-). I’ve heard they are good at keeping out all kinds of herbivorous and carnivorous predators. I think you are right about the deer not being too stressed about being chased for a few minutes. But if the deer got chased by dogs too much, maybe they would leave the park. Many dog lovers are also great nature advocates but I think restrictions definitely need to be placed on their use of some spaces. For example, only parts of a park are off leash and only certain parts of a river or lake can be used by dogs. And I really wish all dog owners picked up their dog’s poo! I am glad their are a few large off-leash natural-ish parks. Dogs look so joyful when they run and play.

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