By Rick Miller
On the day after Thanksgiving, a young Farmersville woman shot was looked like an unusually large doe in the neighboring town of Franklinville.
It turns out the 16-year-old’s first deer was a red deer which, unlike the whitetail deer, is not native to New York — or to the North American continent, for that matter.
State Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife officials in Region 9 had heard reports about a large red deer living in the wild in the area where this one was shot, but had been unable to locate it.
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets had attempted to locate the owner of the red deer, unsuccessfully.
Two days after the deer was shot, a DEC supervising officer, Lt. Donald Pleakis, Environmental Conservation Officers Jason Powers and Nate Mead and Wildlife Biologist Ryan Rockefeller responded to a report of a red deer taken in the town of Franklinville.
The hunter’s family had field dressed the deer and transported it to their residence in Farmersville, according to DEC officials. The family contacted Powers when they became suspicious of the animal. The hunter was not identified.
When the DEC officials arrived, they confirmed the doe to be a red deer, weighing roughly 175 pounds.
DEC spokesman Benning Delamater said Agriculture and Markets investigators “found no indication of its origin.” He added: “All facilities in the area known to have red deer in captivity were contacted and accounted for.”
Native to Europe and parts of Asia, red deer were introduced to parts of the U.S. in the 1930s. There are red deer in captivity in the U.S. today.
Dalamater said, “A loose red deer in the population is a problem because it could potentially present a disease risk to New York’s native whitetail herd, especially when the deer’s history is unknown.”
The DEC’s goal, “is to remove every red deer encountered and test these animals for chronic wasting disease,” Delamater said. “Test results for this deer are being determined.”