Tennessee officials are looking for the culprit who illegally killed an exotic red stag owned by Luke Bryan.
Tennessee wildlife officials have confirmed the illegal killing of an exotic red stag owned by country music superstar Luke Bryan. The stag was reportedly shot and killed on Bryan's private land outside Nashville last week.
Barry Cross, spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, told The Tennessean that the animal was likely shot from the road, which (along with hunting private property without permission) is against the law.
The Maury County Sheriff's Office is looking for help, and said the "owner" of the exotic game animal is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. That's according to a bulletin the Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook on Saturday.
We are requesting the public’s help. See bulletin.
Who killed Luke Bryan's Red Stag?
Illegal hunting occurs often enough in this country, with Tennessee as no exception. But to take an exotic red stag, an animal that's clearly non-native and privately owned by a country music celebrity, is particularly brazen.
No other information or clues were reported.
The shooting is believed to have taken place between Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 6, and was reported by Bryan's farm manager, Cross said.
"As an agency we appreciate our hunters who do the right thing and follow the bylaws, and it takes a second for someone to ruin it for all of us," said Cross.
Red stags are a species of deer typically found in the mountains of Asia and Europe, and are not regulated as a game species in Tennessee, like whitetail deer are. That still doesn't mean you're allowed to harvest one that doesn't belong to you from a road.
Bryan, along with his wife Caroline, operate Brett's Barn, a petting zoo on one of their properties. The Barn was founded in memory of Bryan's niece, who died from congenital heart defect as an infant.
Kids can visit the petting zoo and interact with typical farm animals, like horses and pigs, as well as more exotic animals like kangaroos and alpacas. It's unknown if the red stag was part of this zoo or not.