A blacktail deer drowned in the Folsom South Canal near Hazel Avenue Tuesday morning after slipping into the water and being unable to climb out.
The California Department of Fish and Game attempted to rescue the deer, but was unable to get to it in time. Spokesman Patrick Foy said the deer likely became trapped Monday night and was not reported by a passersby until about 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
By then the deer, a young buck, had become weak and injured after hours struggling to free itself from the steep concrete slopes of the canal.
"It had injuries that probably would have required euthanasia," said Foy, a game warden, who pulled the animal from the canal himself at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. "The hooves were worn down to the bone. The knees were worn down well into the bone. It was just too late. We were all really bummed out."
Foy said two or three deer become trapped each year in the canal, which diverts water from Lake Natoma. This usually happens in the fall, breeding season for deer, a time when bucks are distracted and less cautious.
Even though the canal is fenced, some deer still find their way to the canal's edge and its slippery concrete slope down to the water. The canal includes metal ladders at intervals so a person can free themselves, but no provisions for wildlife.
"It's literally just one step on the wrong side of that concrete slope, and they slip in," Foy said.
Fish and Game has a protocol in place to rescue animals from the canal, but it depends on hearing about a trapped animal quickly. Foy urged witnesses to immediately report animals in the canal by calling the department's toll-free tip line, (888) DFG-CALTIP or (888) 334-2258.
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