According to MeatEater, a Kansas woman was issued a citation back in 2016 for “unlawful possession of wildlife without a permit” in relation to a doe she was keeping on her property.
The doe showed up on their property a few years back and has since become part of the family. While it doesn’t technically live on the property, she’s always around, plays with their dogs, goes in the house, they feed it, and they even put a collar on it to keep deer hunters from shooting it.
A regular member of the family… except game wardens didn’t happen to see it that way. After nearly two years, they arrived on her property and shot the doe, calling it a risk to human safety and a CWD concern.
“She was a very much a big pet. There was no reason for her to be killed,” said the Kansas woman. “Her being domesticated was her own doing. She chose to stay. I never kept her from going away and being with other deer.”
However, according to the wildlife department, it’s illegal to keep a wild animal in Kansas.
“In these cases our officers have to decide what options there are. That might be to relocate the animal, release it back into the wild or take it to some kind of rehab facility,” said Mark Rankin, law enforcement assistant director for the wildlife department. “Unfortunately once they’ve become imprinted on people, (euthanasia) is almost always the final outcome. Our officers on the scene felt (shooting the deer) was about their only option.”
A tough situation all the way around.
There’s no doubt that the family loved that little mule deer, but at the same time, the law is the law. Once a wild animal like that is domesticated, there really is no chance of reintroducing her into the wild, however, perhaps a spot on a deer farm might’ve have been a better alternative than shooting it. At the time, a veterinarian wasn’t available to tranquilize the doe.
Also, do you really need to shoot it right in their yard? Probably not…
But the incident brings up an important question that is still relevant today… where do we draw the line on keeping wild animals as pets? On the one hand, you want to keep people interested in wildlife, but at what cost? To both humans, and the animal.
It’s a question that’s still up for debate, but most can agree that this particular situation could’ve been handled much differently.