WEST SEATTLE DEER: New sightings, and renewed plea to let it be

(Saturday photo, courtesy Owen)

We’ve just received the first West Seattle deer-sighting report since Saturday – Marsha e-mailed to say it was an “incredible sight” to spot the deer on Wickstrom Place SW in the Alki area this morning.

Nine days after first word of the deer (nicknamed “Westley” by WSB commenters) surfacing in West Seattle, we know at least one other person has seen him today – while we haven’t heard from them directly, we know about the sighting because of a call from Tracy Bahrakis, acting field-services manager for the Seattle Animal Shelter. She mentioned a report this morning and wanted us to let you know that while SAS is continuing to talk with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the animal authorities continue to contend that unless the deer is badly injured or in distress, trying to capture it would do more harm than good – so please just let it be.

If you’ve missed our previous coverage, this is the first deer spotted in West Seattle in years. First word came in a photo tweeted by Peter, October 30th on Pigeon Point; the next day, it was seen to the west, near West Seattle Health Club; the day after that, we learned it also had wandered onto the spawling site of Nucor, which reported it to WDFW but was told to leave it alone. On Friday, a series of sightings and photos showed it on the move from Fairmount to Beach Drive. On Saturday, it was seen in North Admiral.

Bahrakis says the person who called her this morning from West Seattle was concerned that the deer seemed to be limping; this has been an on-and-off description over the past week, but she says “they hurt their legs all the time” and do best healing on their own. (Reader video clips we’ve published show it quite mobile and running quite ably.) Bahrakis says that a past deer-relocation attempt – by shooting it with a tranquilizing dart, capturing, and moving it – left it dead the next day from stress.

So she says their request remains: Leave it alone. Keep your distance. Don’t put out food for it or otherwise entice it to stay. Just let it be. And if you still have questions or concerns, she said, WDFW invites you to talk with them directly – the main number is 360-902-2200.

18 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE DEER: New sightings, and renewed plea to let it be"

  • Ann Schumann November 8, 2016 (4:17 pm)

    Poor Deer……..itwill probably end up being hit by a car or worse if no one does anything.   Maybe it can swim to Vashon.

  • Hortsig November 8, 2016 (5:52 pm)

    Westley was in our yard this morning, above Alki…we watched him fir quite awhile until he easily jumped into a neighboring hillside…he wasn’t limping and appeared nourished and in good health.

  • Rich Huizenga November 8, 2016 (7:19 pm)

    He was in our yard eating apples about 4 PM at 59th and Spokane.  Will try to paste picture.

  • Rich Huizenga November 8, 2016 (7:23 pm)

    Watched it amble through several adjacent yards until as dusk decended it hunkered down in bushes in a nearby yard.  Looked like it might sleep there tonight. 

  • Susan Gates November 8, 2016 (8:22 pm)

    Just to add to the surreal nature of this night, saw the deer in my backyard a few minutes ago – 59th and Spokane street area. It is headed west toward Beach Drive. 

  • aa November 8, 2016 (8:39 pm)

    It seems to be on its own which is sad.

  • Rich Huizenga November 8, 2016 (8:50 pm)

    One more picture of this sighting. After he had enough apples he headed out onto Spokane street from our alley.

    • Rick November 9, 2016 (12:56 am)

      Seems to be somewhat socialized so maybe he’s been around people for a while. Most likely  just looking for food.

  • sbre November 8, 2016 (9:10 pm)

    I grew-up around deer, we could sit for as long as we wanted and just watch them do their ‘deer things’.

    One thing that stands out in each photos I’ve seen is that ‘Westley’ is completely at ease, his ears, tail and leg stance indicates he’s comfortable and not living in fear.

    At least for the time he stops and pauses for the paparazzi!

  • newnative November 9, 2016 (8:26 am)

    I think we have enough Green Space for Westley to hang out as long as he wants.  I’m sure he’ll find his way out when he’s ready.  

    • WSB November 9, 2016 (9:03 am)

      Late last night he was on the boardwalk at Alki, toward the west end.

  • unknown November 9, 2016 (9:39 am)

    @AA… not sure if this is the same for this breed of Deer that Westley is but this is what I found on GOOGLE and I agree it seems sad he is alone. :(

    How Do Deer Families Live?

    White tailed deer are polygamous animals, which means they have more than one mate in their lives. Males will even have more than one mate within a single mating period. A female deer is generally alone through most of the year, except when accompanied by her fawns. On the other hand, males will stay with other males for most of the year and will only become solitary during mating season to avoid competition.

    Male deer are called bucks, female deer are called does, and baby deer are called fawns. The male deer has antlers that come out of bone plates in his head. When the antlers begin to grow, they have a thin layer of felt covering them. Males will scratch their antlers against trees to get rid of the felt.

    What Is Their Life Cycle?

    Mating season for the white tailed deer takes place between January and February. About seven months after mating, a doe will give birth to one to three fawns. The buck does not stay to help raise the fawns—the doe raises them alone. The fawns are able to walk at birth but will stay by their mother for one to two years; females will often stay with their mother longer than males. Although the young fawns can nibble on some greenery when they are born, their stomachs are not fully developed to properly digest the food. The fawns will have to survive eight weeks on their mother’s milk. After that time, the mother will bring the fawns along while she hunts for food. The doe will hide each fawn in a different location to avoid all of her babies being taken by a predator. Soon, the fawns will start to graze with their mother for the next year.

    After that time, males will start to separate from their family to gain their own territories. This usually entails a trip of about six miles to establish a new home range. Once a male is fully grown, he will start to develop antlers during the mating season, known as a rut. During the rut, the males within the same range will fight for mating privileges. Deer generally live to be about 10 years in the wild, but they can survive up to 20 years in captivity.

  • mike November 9, 2016 (5:15 pm)

    BlackTail Deer.  Very likely swam here.

  • Kay November 10, 2016 (12:11 pm)

    Just spotted our deer in Lincoln Park

  • Jackie November 10, 2016 (12:35 pm)

    He was in our rose garden on Beach Drive around 11 this morning.  Eventually, he made his way south and was in a large construction area.  Then he headed back up the hillside towards Atlas.  Is this Westley?

    • WSB November 10, 2016 (12:38 pm)

      Yes, that’s Westley. We’ve had more sightings today and will be publishing an update shortly – appreciate your photo, as we haven’t received any new ones via e-mail or text. PLEASE keep your distance – getting too close can scare him and it might be risky – deer are stronger than they might appear! – Tracy

      • Jackie November 10, 2016 (1:00 pm)

        Yes – keep your distance from this guy.  He came towards me as I stood in my driveway just returning home.  Snapped a few pictures and off he went.  Hoping he is headed for Lincoln Park.


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