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Animal activist refuses to let bow-hunter retrieve deer

October 20, 2009 |  4:07 pm

Whitetail deer buck.

A bow-hunter who thought he was doing everything by the book instead went home empty-handed, reports the Connecticut Post.

After mortally wounding a deer, he tracked it -- as responsible hunters should -- until it collapsed and died.

Realizing the animal had ended up on someone's private property, he went to the door to ask permission to retrieve the buck.

"My husband told him to just go away, he couldn't have the deer," homeowner Lynn Gorfinkle said.

Gorfinkle went out into her yard and took photos of the deer. "It was a crime scene, in my opinion, the minute that it was shot," she said.

Turns out, Gorfinkle is the CEO of Animal Rights Alliance in Redding, Conn.

The state's bow-hunting season began mid-September at Bennett's Pond State Park, where hunting is allowed by the Department of Environmental Protection, though the Gorfinkles believe that the whitetail deer came from a closer tract of land.

"I will never go out [in the backyard] so casually again. It impairs the enjoyment of your own property when you feel you have to look over your shoulder or wear fluorescent orange or something," Gorfinkle said.

DEP communications director Dennis Schain said that hunting accidents by bow-hunters are rare. "I've been here four years and have never heard of such a thing," he said.

The controversy between hunting enthusiasts and animal-rights activists is nothing new in the area. Earlier this year, a deer hunt on city property in Stamford was ended early because of complaints, and even death threats, according to a city official. And nearby Fairfield is meeting opposition to their effort to open some town-owned land to deer hunting.

The DEP reports that Fairfield County, where Stamford and Fairfield are located, has the highest deer density in the state, with an estimated average of 62 animals per square mile.

The Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance still backs the culling as a way to prevent the spread of Lyme disease, over-browsing of native vegetation and deer collisions with automobiles.

Lynn and other animal-rights proponents argue that killing the deer is not the answer and that nature should be allowed to take its course to control deer numbers.

So the carcass remains in the Gorfinkles' yard, where it has been since Oct. 2. Lynn hopes that other animals will eat it because it is too big to bury.

"If someone's going to eat that deer, I want it to be natural predators, not some hunter," she said.

Her actions, meanwhile, may mean the death of another deer. "Since the hunter did not recover the deer, he did not need to tag it and it doesn't count toward his bag limit," Dennis Schain told Outposts.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Whitetail deer buck. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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