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Lake Stories: A Deer with a Difference

It was October 2007. A beautiful fall day at our cottage on Muskrat Lake. Nannie and Grandad were visiting from out of town. They always liked to come in autumn when the colours are beautiful and the bugs are few.

Grandad loved the cottage - the lake, the wood fire and the wildlife. Especially the wildlife. Grandad’s dream was to see a deer. He’d seen one along the highway once, and we’d told him of various sightings along our cottage road. But he’d never been with us when the deer actually appeared.

That October evening, we were in the kitchen making supper when my husband came running up to the cottage door and said in a hoarse whisper, “Come quick, Dad! There’s a deer out on the lawn. But be very quiet so you don’t scare it away.”

We dropped everything and tiptoed outside, peering through the trees to see the deer. And here is what we saw.

“That’s one hell of a deer,” said Grandad. It sure was. It was a large male, thick and muscular, with a strong musky odour and thick horns curling over its back. “Wait a minute,” we said, cowering behind the nearest tree, “That’s not a deer, it’s a . . . it’s a. . . it’s a . . . MOUNTAIN GOAT!”

We watched in amazement as the mountain goat wandered around casually, silhouetted against the evening sun. I ran into the cottage and grabbed the camera. “No one’s going to believe this,” I said, snapping pictures to prove what we’d seen.

I was right. When we told our friends and neighbours later about our unlikely visitor they all said, “And how many drinks had you consumed before you saw that mountain goat?” But as you can see, I had proof.

We never saw the mountain goat again. Much later, we learned it had escaped from a farm down the lake and had eventually made its way home.

But it lives on in our cottage album as one of the strangest sights we’ve ever seen on Muskrat Lake. And Grandad was very impressed - even though he never did see a deer.

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