It is the most photographed and filmed deer since Bambi.
A mule deer not at all afraid of humans has been photographed in various parts of Coldstream coming up to people and rubbing its head in a friendly manner against them with people petting the deer in response.
Over the summer, a video was shot by a North Okanagan family showing the deer cozying up to a young boy on the beach at Coldstream’s Sovereign Lake Park on Kal Lake, rubbing its head against the boy’s head and neck.
The video was posted on YouTube and, as of Thursday afternoon, had more than 13,600 hits.
Conservation and wildlife officials, however, have concerns about the deer being so unusually friendly towards humans.
“The concern is that the deer has grown since we last saw it and will soon be entering the rutting season – where the males can become quite aggressive and dangerous,” said Marnie Cuthill, Vernon WildSafe B.C. community coordinator.
“Even now, this mule deer is big enough to inadvertently injure an adult or child with its antlers when it rubs up against them – especially when it has been seeking out human contact at a school.”
Cuthill said the deer was causing problems Wednesday, standing at a Coldstream bus stop and rubbing up against everybody at the stop. It even tried to rub up against a parked car.
The deer then allegedly bounded its way to Kidston Elementary School and got caught up in a kid’s jacket.
Conservation officers thought that perhaps the deer had died because another mule deer had been hit by a car in the area, and it was destroyed because of its injuries.
After the accident, complaints about the deer and its bizarre behaviour stopped.
“We have no idea where this deer has been for the past month,” said Cuthill.
Conservation officials say the deer photographed Wednesday is the same deer that stars in the YouTube video.
Because of rutting season and because the deer has packed on about 50 more pounds since its video hit in July, officials fear the deer is going to get more aggressive.
“I would recommend as soon as someone sees the deer, phone the conservation officer reporting line (1-877-952-7277) because they are actually looking for it,” said Cuthill.
“If people see the deer, they need to leave. It’s seeking attention, trying to rub all over people, and people need to leave.”