Friendly deer creates buzz at Point Breeze
POINT BREEZE – A deer nicknamed “Breezy” has become a local social media star, with numerous people posting selfies and videos of the deer accepting food and allowing itself to be petted.
The deer has been at Point Breeze for about two months. It naps in neighbors’ yards and happily accepts food from the public.
Nicole Bellnier, owner of the Breeze Inn Again restaurant, said many of her customers talk about the deer.
“It’s so friendly,” she said. “It nuzzles you like a cat.”
But Bellnier has become concerned about the deer as it gets bigger. One person said the deer head butted a child.
“We all got caught up in it,” Bellnier said this morning. “It’s getting to the point where something has to be done with it.”
The deer even walks the pier looking for food handouts at Point Breeze, going up to fishermen and people relaxing on the rocks. Bellnier is concerned the deer could lose its footing and fall in the lake, or catch some people by surprise who aren’t accustomed to a deer that isn’t spooked by people.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation has received many calls about the deer at Point Breeze, said Michael R. Wasilco, the DEC’s Regional Wildlife Manager, Division of Fish and Wildlife.
“Deer acting tame and approaching humans and allowing petting is most often a sign that the deer was in captivity at some point in its life,” he said in an email. “This could either be a sign that the deer was raised and released by a licensed rehabilitator who did not do a good job of preventing the deer from being habituated to human, or often it is a sign that the deer was illegally raised in captivity after someone picked it up as a fawn.”
The deer’s tame behavior usually isn’t a problem in does (females).
“But it can be very dangerous in bucks (males) when breeding season approaches, as the tame bucks see humans as potential competition for mates and will try to fight that competition,” Wasilco said.
The tame male deer are usually are removed before fall arrives, he said.
“If a female becomes aggressive, she would need to be removed as well, to prevent safety issues with the humans in the area,” he said.
The tame Point Breeze deer is a doe, Wasilco said. Bellnier and others on Facebook have said they think it is a buck.
Some people have been worried the tame deer may be sick, thinking that is the reason it isn’t showing the normal apprehension around humans.
“It is also possible that the deer is sick, but usually they would exhibit other signs of illness in addition to the tameness, which we have not received any reports of,” Wasilco said.