DNR investigating illegal white deer harvest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DNR investigating illegal white deer harvest

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AURORA (KWWL) -- Kim Wessels has always enjoyed photography, but a few months ago a certain animal caught her attention.

"I've lived out here my whole life and that's the only one I've seen around here," she said.

"Very rarely, but not impossible, but rarely a white deer will show up in the state," said Iowa DNR spokesperson Joe Wilkinson.

Soon, everyone in the area knew about the white deer, and had their own stories of spotting the rare creature.

"It was eating apples from our apple tree," noted youngster Deann Lentz.

Wessels had a little spare time Sunday and drove down to the public hunting area at Jakway Park to try to snag a few more shots with her camera. To her horror, she discovered a hunter had already taken aim at the white deer.

"As he approached my car I said, are you hunting out here, and he said yes, it's still muzzle-loading season. And I said, I'm aware of that. But I said, don't shoot that white deer. And he said I just did ma'am," she recalled.

The whole thing is well documented by witnesses. Wessels watched as the hunter drug the deer out to the parking lot, and then the neighbors took pictures as he hung it from his truck. What the hunter seemingly did not know, is that the white deer is a protected animal.

"In the late 1980s the Iowa Legislature decided to prohibit the taking, harvest of the predominately white white-tailed deer," explained Wilkinson.

Harvesting a predominately white deer is a simple misdemeanor in Iowa. If charged and convicted, a hunter faces thirty days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

At this point, the DNR is investigating, but has not pressed any charges. Wessels has only heard bits and pieces about the investigation, including, that the man claimed he'd hit the deer with his car, and later, that he apologized.

"They told me the guy was very sorry. But sorry's not going to bring the deer back," she said.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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