According to a report by KSDK, Town and Country residents were concerned over a deer found in the 2500 block of Town and County Lane Wednesday morning by a homeowner. The deer had what appeared to some residents to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head. (The KSDK story has since been removed from its website and the story link no longer works.)
However, a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) autopsy just completed Thursday afternoon shows the deer died from impact with a vehicle and not a gunshot.
Captain Gary Hoelzer is in charge of the city's deer management program. Patch spoke with Hoelzer immediately after he received the call from the MDC agent with the animal's autopsy results.
"He guarantees it was not a firearm. He says its injuries and resulting cause of death have the classic signs of a deer versus vehicle collision. The deer had an abrasion on it's head, which is what others determined was a gunshot wound. It had a fractured skull and broken ribs. The broken ribs punctured the lungs, spleen and liver," Hoelzer tells Patch of the necropsy, or animal autopsy, results. "So it ran into a vehicle pretty hard or a vehicle ran into it pretty hard."
Hoelzer said the only information MDC could not provide is exactly where the deer was struck.
"We don't know if was struck where it was found or if it was struck and ran to where it was found, but we know it was struck," Hoelzer said. He said some of the initial confusion may have come after the officer who initially responded to call Wednesday morning said the the deer appeared to have what could be a small caliber blow. However, Hoelzer said after further evaluation of the animal, that did not appear to be the case, but he had to wait for the official autopsy results to be positive.
"There would be a lot more blood with a gunshot wound," Hoelzer tells Patch. He also said White Buffalo was not in that area Tuesday night.
As previously reported by Patch, White Buffalo sharpshooters who were contracted by the City of Town and Country have been culling deer in Town and Country since late December. However, the contract the city has with White Buffalo does not allow sharpshooting to be done on residential plots of land less than five contiguous acres.
"We have no management properties on Town and Country Lane or on any of its contiguous properties. We are not in that vicinity," Hoelzer said. "On that particular night, we were working one area that was two miles away and the other area was four miles away. We weren't there and all of our deer are accounted for."
Hoelzer will not disclose the exact locations of sharpshooters, saying he is not in the position to do so due to privacy requested by homeowners participating in the Deer Management Program.
"Private property owners want their privacy so it's part of the contract and we are not in a position to release that information," Hoelzer said.
White Buffalo sharpshooters are working between the hours of 3 to 8 p.m. The city ordinance is public record. Regular updates on the deer management program and the culling of the deer can be found on the top right hand side of the city's website. The last update indicates 210 deer have been culled as of Tuesday, Jan. 17.
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