It happens every year: A hunter takes aim, hits an animal, but only wounds it.
So it goes in Snohomish, where a buck hit with an arrow is walking around neighborhoods with a bloody wound and arrow sticking out of its side, much to the neighbors' distress.
This wounded buck was photographed last weekend, walking around Snohomish. Gina Sanchez, photo
Dave Ware, game division manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the animal could have been shot during the archery season, which ended in September, or more recently, by a hunter who chose to use an arrow during the modern firearm season, which ended Oct. 31.
Regulation arrows are designed to be sharp enough to quickly kill an animal, but when mistakes happen, it's distressing for everyone, especially the animal. The thing to do if you see a wounded animal is call 911, Ware said.
Dispatchers will alert the department, which will send an officer to assess the situation. If the animal is in distress and it is safe to do so, the officer will put the animal down. If it looks like the animal will survive the wound, the officer will leave it be.
Hunting is an important tool in neighborhoods that have been settled in what used to be game habitat to ease the conflicts that arise when people suddenly move in, Ware said. "Archers sometimes get a bad name because of the equipment they use if they wound an animal," Ware said. "No one wants to see wounded animals out there, that is a tough deal.
"But especially in Western Washington where we are building houses and covering up habitat, we get tons of complaints from homeowners about deer eating the landscaping and causing vehicle accidents. And the best way to deal with that kind of deer density is through hunting."