Ten Fallow Deer are on the loose in Nobleboro and federal officials plan to hunt them down and kill them.
The likely owner of the deer denies that they are his – probably in order to avoid liability should they be involved in an automobile or other accident. There is no way, apparently, for the state to prove ownership of the deer.
While a bunch of hunters in that area would surely love to help hunt down and harvest these animals, they are prohibited from doing so by state law. Game wardens have issued citations in the past in similar situations to hunters who shot animals that escaped from captivity.
If these Fallow Deer are still at large during the upcoming deer hunting season, Maine hunters would do well to study photographs of those deer so as to be able to tell the difference between them and a Maine whitetail.
Maine’s Department of Agriculture is responsible for issuing permits for commercially grown species, including those in commercial shooting areas. But the Ag Department has no police unit to enforce those laws and rules. The Ag Department actually contracts with Gerry LaVigne, DIF&W’s retired longtime deer biologist, to inspect commercial shooting areas and handle any problems.
Yesterday (September 12) I ran into LaVigne in Augusta as he bounced between the Departments of Agriculture and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, attempting to resolve the Fallow Deer problem in Nobleboro.
The way this works is: the Ag Department declares the Fallow Deer as a disease or public safety threat. Then federal officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service take over, to “lethally remove them.”
If you live in Nobleboro and hear shooting this week, it could be the feds!