Who should be the rightful owner of this massive road-killed buck?
Controversies over big deer are not uncommon these days. And a whopper of a controversy involving a massive buck with 20+ points killed by a car near Cumberland, Wisconsin got so bad, sheriff’s deputies were called.
The Star Tribune reports that a man named Keith Schuck smashed into the monster buck Thanksgiving evening while travelling north on Highway 63. “The buck turned his head and looked at me as I hit him, right in the middle of the road,” Schuck told the Star Tribune. “He totaled my van. But I never took my foot off the foot-feed. I kept going until I came to a driveway a couple miles up the road, and pulled in for help.”
Even though he is a hunter and knew the buck was a big one, he was more concerned with the well-being of his car, especially since he didn’t have a cell phone with him.
“As it was, the deer was just roadkill,” Schuck told the Star Tribune.
When Schuck eventually made his way back to the accident scene, he found a crowd was gathering around the buck, which had already been claimed by a man from Minnesota. Wisconsin law allows a person to keep a deer they kill with their car as long as they obtain a tag for it.
The man from Minnesota, assuming the deer was abandoned, had already obtained such a tag. Obviously, the conflicting situation caused the two men decided to get a second opinion from the DNR. But it ended up not being much help.
“The Minnesota man was nice enough to let me use his phone so I could call the DNR to get it straight about ownership,” Schuck told the Star Tribune. “The woman on the phone said, ‘You hit the deer, right? So it’s yours.”
It was at this point the Minnesota man decided to call 911 for a second opinion. An hour later Barron County sheriff’s deputies arrived and ultimately awarded the buck to the Minnesota man. “One deputy said to me, ‘Look, you can’t register a deer twice,” Schuck said.
Because a tag had already been awarded, the deputies decided Schuck couldn’t make a claim to the buck. While tensions were apparently high at the scene, witnesses like Rochelle Olson told the Star Tribune the Minnesota man wasn’t necessarily trying to be mean about it to Schuck. “He just said he had claimed it legally,” Olson told the paper.
Dave Adashak, a friend of the man who ended up with the deer spoke with the Star Tribune about the aftermath of the incident. “He’s a little freaked out by all of this and wants everything to die down,” Adashak told the paper. “He just wants to display the deer for his personal use. He doesn’t want to make money on it.”
That would seem to be true since a local taxidermist named Jeff Lane, who arrived on the scene that night offered the man $1,000 for the buck, an offer the man turned down.
Many local residents, however, are still upset that the buck went to a man from Minnesota instead of a local. Interestingly enough, the man that hit the buck seems to have already moved on.
“I don’t see what the major thing is about that buck,” Schuck told the Star Tribune. “If I got it back I’d hang it in the local food shelf. That way people could see it when they bring in a donation.”
Tensions over who is the rightful possessor of a deer are nothing new. Earlier this year a man in Michigan was actually beat up for his buck that two other men claimed they shot. But this case seems much more personal with all the people who knew the animal. You can read more details on the resident’s personal stories of the buck in the Star Tribune’s story.
Obviously the Minnesota man couldn’t have known the person who hit the animal was coming back for it. Nor could Schuck have predicted someone would have already claimed it by the time he was able to return.
Either way, it’s an unfortunate end for an incredible animal.
What do you think? Who should be the rightful owner of this big buck?