‘Trapped’ Young Deer Tricks California Residents Into Feeding, Caring For It

by Amy Myers
Photo by Jose Carlos Fajardo/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

His name is Mr. Buck, and for a while, California residents banded together to take care of the young deer they believed was caught in the neighborhood reservoir.

The rescue effort began when Oakland native Deborah Kenoyer noticed the buck wandering near the area’s covered and gated 8-acre drinking water supply. As she continued to survey the situation, Kenoyer realized that the deer couldn’t get out. And after attempts to contact DNR and East Bay MUD failed, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

For obvious, sanitary reasons, it’s a good thing for the neighborhood’s bipedal residents that the deer couldn’t access the reservoir. But Kenoyer believed that this meant certain death for the helpless deer.

“And it concerned me after like three weeks, it was still here,” she told Dan Noyes at ABC7 news station. “And I was concerned because it’s so dry in there. It’s so dry in there and you can’t get water obviously, that’s covered. I knew that.”

Unwilling to watch the deer starve or dehydrate to death, the Oakland resident put out a variety of food for the animal and, of course, some water.

“There’s cabbage, peanuts, apples, what else is in there? There’s some bread, he doesn’t like wheat bread, but he likes white bread,” she explained.

Young Deer Was Actually Fooling the Oakland Resident the Entire Time

Of course, providing this young deer with food and water is a dangerous precedent to set. As a wild animal, this deer may very well continue to depend on humans for sustenance in the future. That can lead to dangerous situations, especially during rut, as the buck matures.

And Kenoyer understood this. Still, she felt that there was no other discernable course of action.

“I don’t want to do this at all. I want him out of here,” she said. “This is not a life for him. Especially if you aren’t supposed to feed him or give him water. It’s just gonna be stressful.”

Kenoyer also observed coyotes in the area after installing a camera.

“So, they are using that reservoir as a thoroughfare. And they may be stalking that deer for all I know.”

With a bit of persistence, Kenoyer and the ABC7 news anchor were able to call EBMUD officials to the site. Lo and behold, there was a hole in the fence… and the deer had been using it to enter and exit the reservoir the entire time.

EBMUD Supervising Fish & Wildlife Biologist Bert Mulchaey demonstrated photos of the deer using the corridor.

“There’s him at night, going through the hole,” he said.

For Kenoyer, this means she likely encouraged some poor habits for the deer. The question now is whether the animal will become dependent on her in future years.

Still, the resident felt some comfort knowing Mr. Buck was not trapped.

“It does make me feel a lot better, yes,” she said. “He’s been pulling my leg pretty good. Yeah, he has.”