You’re out in your deer stand, waiting all morning for the massive buck you’ve caught on your trail cameras to show itself, but instead you get this…
A picture out of De Soto, Missouri is currently going viral of a deer walking around with a collar, and the words “PET” written on the side of it. The owner probably did this so that hunters wouldn’t be tempted to shoot it.
According to the Belleville News-Democrat,the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office shared the photo to Facebook back on October 8th, causing an uproar between commenters.
The post read:
“The Missouri Dept. of Conservation responded to rural De Soto this week for this deer. Wild animals should not be considered pets, and particularly deer should not be moved from their habitat as MDC works on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Orphan wildlife should be reported to your local MDC office or Conservation Agent.”
Although the deed may have been done with good intentions, Missouri Department of Conservation Captain Scott Corley said that a move like this does more harm to the creature than good:
“Somebody most likely took that deer out of the wild as a fawn and tried to keep it as a pet and put a collar on it.”
He added that the deer has now most definitely lost its fear of humans. A conservation agent responded to the area on September 27th after getting a call from a concerned landowner, but the deer was gone by the time the agent arrived.
“We’re concerned with the health of the deer. And nowadays since we have issues with chronic wasting disease and other disease issues, it is not safe for humans and it’s not in the best interest of the animal’s welfare.
Obviously they thought they were keeping it safe. Maybe going into hunting season they thought painting ‘pet’ on it, somebody won’t shoot it if it comes by. That’s just not a good idea by any means.”
Corley said the situation is dangerous because deer hunting season coincides with mating season, meaning that male deer become more aggressive. And since this deer is domesticated, it can be aggressive towards humans:
“When they took him out of the wild his first year … he didn’t have all those hormones running through him. Now he can be aggressive and it can cause problems.
We’re going to protect the people and if this deer is aggressive toward people there’s a possibility that would be an option. The last thing we want to happen is for somebody to get gored with an antler.
It ends in a bad situation for the deer by taking them out of the wild. They have a lot better chance if you leave them where they’re at and don’t touch them.”
It appears as though the deer belongs to a farmer living next to former Army Sergeant, Matt Schmitt, who recently shared a video of the deer (named Tony) coming by their house. He added that its the first time he’s seen the deer in about a week, but it definitely seems like the deer is a regular in the area:
“There is a farmer that connects to my property. He’s the one that has him as a ‘pet’.”