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Concern for public cited as FWP reason for taking popular mule buck

by The Western News
| September 18, 2013 12:09 PM

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wardens “dispatched” a mature mule deer buck from the city limits of Libby Monday evening, according to a release from the agency.

The five-by-five buck, which has been widely viewed in Libby’s downtown, has recently become an increasing public safety concern by citizens and the city of Libby. Multiple reports of real property damage and fear to human safety were looked into and verified.

Realizing the buck was a local favorite to many folks in Libby, all options were looked at to try and preserve it alive. Attempts to haze it out of the city and into its more natural environment were unsuccessful. Trying to tranquilize it and move it out of the area was not an available option with the State of Montana concern of possible transmission of chronic wasting disease to other populations, the release states.

Allowing hunters to pursue and take the buck was not available within the deer's established range in the city limits where hunting is not allowed by both city and state statutes. 

 The deer has become extremely habituated and showed no fear of people.  People have hand-fed the deer, followed it around and even cornered it for photographs.

In looking at similar problems with bucks around the state such as in Helena and Fort Benton, the concern was that as it approaches the rutting season it would become more aggressive and less tolerant of people.

The city of Troy had an incident a few years ago with mature mule deer buck that walked up a driveway charging a child who sustained injuries along with his dog who were just out in their yard playing.

The deer meat was quickly and properly cared and donated to the local food bank system. The antlers will either be given to the city or county for display or with the local hunter-education program

The entire situation with a habituated deer like this in town is unfortunate, the release states It is not a result of one individuals action but a long-term problem with deer who are in an unnatural habitat, but yet have the natural instincts that cause concern for all when so close to people.