Ogden, Utah — (KUTV) Residents leaving the Whispering Oaks gated community Friday morning were in for a disturbing sight. A buck skewered itself on the community's wrought iron fence when it tried to leave get out of the area.
Area residents said they have seen several deer die trying to get out of the neighborhood. Three were impaled on the wrought iron spires. Kristin Stephens said a few years ago, she saw a stressed fawn die from exhaustion as it paced along the front of the property.
"It was racing up here and it died from sheer exhaustion, I think."
Stephens' mother, Maryanne Lane, lives across the street from Whispering Oaks. She heard police responding to the animal around 9 a.m. Friday.
"When I was making the bed, I heard a gunshot. It sounded like a pop," said Lane. "I looked out my window and there were two policemen standing there, shooting. And then I saw the deer."
Lane and Stephens said this impaling, and others like it, are upsetting. They said the deaths were much more traumatic than other deaths or even being hit by a car.
"They suffer is the thing too. They just hang there," Lane said. "It was a wildlife animal in a gated community, just wanting his freedom."
Wildlife officials said trapped deer often get panicked. They often try to squeeze through gates or jump over them. Many times they will get hurt.
"Most of the time, the animals that are gored are euthanized," said Darren DeBloois, with the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Animals that are caught but not necessarily injured to a point that we think euthanasia is appropriate, we'll go ahead and release on sight."
DeBloois recommended modifying or building fences to be eight to ten feet tall, if your neighborhood code allows. He said vertical gaps should be no greater than six inches. Sharp spokes can be cut down or covered up. He said a less expensive alternative is to cover the spikes with a garden hose.
Whispering Oaks Home Owners Association president, Tom Moeglein, learned about the deer death Friday. He told 2News he plans to talk to the DWR about ways to modify the fence to make it safer for wildlife.
If you have any questions about how to make your fences safer or see wildlife in distress, call your local branch of the Division of Wildlife Resources. In Ogden, that number is (801) 476-2740.