Bays Mountain Park loses two white-tailed deer

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium regrets to announce the death of two of its white-tailed deer, Odi and Gloria.

Both deer were found deceased by park staff in their enclosure early Sunday morning. It appears wild coyotes breached the habitat by digging underneath the fence and killing both deer sometime during the night after the park closed.

The staff at Bays Mountain is committed to the safety of its animals and each of our habitats are fortified to prevent wild animals from entering. However, fences are not always impenetrable, and the park is a nature preserve with an abundance of wild animals.

Many of these wild animals are predators and deer are a common prey species. While we are deeply saddened by the loss, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the coyotes are living out their natural behavior.

“It is always a sad day when we lose one of our animals,” said Chief Ranger Tyler Wicks. “While rare, it is not unheard of for wild animals to strike within captive animal enclosures. Our staff here takes every precaution necessary to prevent that, but you cannot tame nature.”

Measures are included in the current Bays Mountain Park improvement plan to better secure the animal habitats, including adding three feet of concrete underneath the fencing of the deer habitat to prevent animals from digging into or out of the enclosure.


Gloria was born in 2008 in captivity at Bays Mountain Park to our former doe, Pumpkin. Gloria was always shy and preferred to spend her time relaxing in the shade, grooming her fellow deer.

Odi was born in the wild but orphaned at a very young age in 2012. He was raised by park staff in the Nature Center until he was big enough to join the other deer in the outdoor habitat. Odi was popular with guests, especially during the rut when his antlers were in. He always enjoyed interacting with his caretakers and the public. He was well known for moving rocks and logs around the habitat with his antlers.

“It was a very fulfilling experience to raise Odi from a young fawn,” said Animal Curator Krystal Haney. “He came to us at about three weeks old and we bottle fed him in my office. He could be ornery at times, but I know he always appreciated the life we were able to give him. Odi will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Both Odi and Gloria lived longer than the average deer’s life span in the wild. They were both good ambassadors for their species and educated countless visitors about the importance of ungulates in the environment.