Wisconsin Family Mourns Loss Of Pet Deer

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV 

RICE LAKE, Wis. (WCCO) — A Wisconsin family is dealing with the loss of a beloved pet. It’s a familiar story for many families. But that’s about all that’s common about a three-legged deer named Buddy, or the way he died.

Duncan and Luann McCannel live on a picturesque lake in western Wisconsin. They call it 116 acres of heaven, surrounded by nature, but now missing something special.

“You keep walking in the woods and you want him to come over,” said Duncan.

“He” is Buddy, a deer they found two years ago.

After they nursed him back to health, the deer bonded with their dogs and loved riding on their pontoon.

“We put it in the water, and he was the first one that jumped in, three legs and all,” said Duncan. “And if you didn’t take him on the pontoon boat, he’d swim out after you.”

“Yeah, he loved the pontoon boat,” said Luann. “Absolutely loved it. We were quite the sight going around the lake.”

That’s what made it so devastating when the Wisconsin DNR shot him last week. The state has rigid rules for deer licenses and fences, and after a few neighbors complained that he was eating flowers and bothering people, he was deemed a nuisance.

“We know he wasn’t going to last forever,” said Casey McCannel, Duncan and Luann’s daughter. “Deer live and get hit by cars. There are natural predators out there. The hunting season. We knew we were biding our time, we just weren’t expecting it to be so abrupt.”

Now, they are left with memories and find comfort in his page on Facebook, where Buddy has more than 150 friends.

“Got a response today from a friend in Austria that wished Buddy Happy Birthday,” said Luann. “And then rest in peace.  He touched hearts.”

Wisconsin’s deer laws actually got tougher over the last few years, because of concerns about chronic-wasting disease. The McCannels are putting an obituary for Buddy in the newspaper, and are planning a memorial service for Buddy on Memorial Day.

More from John Lauritsen
  • Tim

    i dont know why its so easy to hate people but love animals. Wish it wasnt that way. Sad to hear about the deer

    • James Daniel

      Sorry to here about Buddy. Seems thats always the answer. Just destroy beatifull things that the good lord put here. Hope the flower people are happy now.. Happy birthday Buddy.

      • Renee

        John Wenzel must have had the ‘inside track’ on how to TEACH THESE PEOPLE Just WHAT WAS RIGHT AND WRONG HERE- by teaming up with his equally judgemental, self serving, and cruel counterpart, the DNR.

        Nothing and no one, can excuse anyone who could shoot a pet, or be the one who asked for/demanded that it would happen, to an animal that would have walked up to either, with trust.

        You are unspeakably cold, cruel and selfish beyond what any reasonable person with any compassion should ever understand, or excuse.

        What goes down comes around; even for big, bad, RIGHT! NO MATTER WHO OR WHAT THEY HURT, gun happy, boys. Count on it, wait for it. Anyone involved will answer for your cruelty, in this life and the next. Your own lack of mercy and compassion- is what you deserve.

      • mikana native

        I think this man should get what he has coming.

    • anne

      Generally people who care about animals also care about people. This situation demonstrates the DNR’s low regard for either!

  • randal

    Not wise to have a pet deer these days with the CWD that can devistate the deer population. If it is fenced in safely and secure at all times with no other contact with other animals its okay but this was not really safe. But it was not needed to be shot by the dnr was it? My neighbors dog is a nuisence can somebody come and shoot it? Lol. Same thing not?

  • Jonas

    To Tim
    I understand your statement about it being easier to love animals than people.
    I remember a survey some five years ago, or so, where 65% of the women surveyed said they’d get rid of their husbands before giving up their pets.

    • filbert

      Jonas, the percentage was much higher than that

  • Susan Marie Jensen

    Why that is just too sad, oh boy eat a few flowers and you will be put away.

  • Timothy Braam

    Sometime, people lied like make up story about deer eat their flowers….now everyone look up at Wisconsin DNR seem sick for no reason for shoot. DNR just like plow without notify to everyone. I undertsand about chronic. if that deer dont have diease, very health. Why DNR need to shoot , if find nothing chronic disease. I bet some people would said , DNR murdered. Well, need to respect their laws.

  • Renee Pigeon

    Let me get this straight. This harmless, three legged deer, on acres and acres of land, where it was rescued, raised, supported, cared for , and loved by the family, who put a bright orange collar on it, to identify that it was tame, was shot point blank by some guy justifying ‘gun happy brutality’, again, by wearing a DNR uniform.

    This was shameful, and unbelievably cruel. Its not the first time this lazy and cruel ‘solution’ was used and justified by the DNR;, when are we going to decide that it has got to be the last?

    I hope the complainers, that gave the most, ‘killing is the only solution”, (the DNR of course, doesn’t admit, that shooting something, is just something they enjoy doing, or that they are just too damn lazy and indifferent to handle anything any other way) and gun happy organization that I have ever heard of, the DNR, another lame excuse to hurt and kill something, are happy with this result.

    This tame deer probably approached the heartless jerk with the gun,with complete trust.

    May each and every one of you involved in this pointless and careless cruelty, see this crying, grieving loving family, and the face of of this innocent, harmless animal, in your dreams for the rest of your cruel and heartless lives.

    • gary

      I think after that I ould be armed @ ll times and tell te dnr ” dont ever come onto my property again !!!!!!!

    • Nancy

      VERY Well Said Renee!!!!

      • Renee

        Thank you Nancy- but I did forgot to add the most important point for all involved.:

        May they rot in their own special place in hell- reserved just for the unspeakably cruel; may they choke on their flowers and their guns. (Bon Voyage jerks).

  • mike

    hey was dat a meth lab you guys walked buy on your way out to kill dat deer?

    • kevin

      you’re an idiot……keep you Shi##y comments to yourself

      • Dale Hubbard

        Kevin, I think Mike was trying to say the authorities should have had far better things to do with their time than shooting Buddy. For example, stopping drugged up idiots cooking meth on other people’s property in the middle of nowhere, which nobody in enforcements wants to even acknowledge. So if they saw had seen one, they would have just walked on by as it is more difficult to handle meth heads than it is to handle a loving deer.

  • mike

    I can spell really I can… I know how to spell ..”BY”

  • Thomas Schneider

    I am sorry for your loss of Buddy. I know how easy it is to become attached to a pet. I have a mutt but I know how I would feel if the DNR shot him or he got hit by a car. I will remember buddy on Memorial Day.

  • Robert Brooks

    I wish only the worst upon this amazing families’ neighbors and the DNR who was involved in this. I wish there was a hell for them to rot in.

    • frank

      Can’t keep a wild animal a pet. That’s just stupid. Thers a reason why dnr does not want tame deer in the wild.

      • kevin

        They werent about to kill a 2 hour old fawn, moron…..unlike you, THESE people have compassion. They did the right thing.

      • Dale Hubbard

        The DNR does not want tame deer in the wild to be allow because it might hurt businesses that rely on hunting tourism. That is simple fact. Deer do not pose a “danger” to people; especially those that learn to not fear people. I believe it is around 3 or 4 people that are attacked by white-tail deer each year and they are NOT the deer that are accustom to human beings. Rather, they attack due to their fear of humans; therefore, we should be promoting deer domestication to save people from attacks, More people are killed or injured by domestic house cats than are ever kill or injured by white tail deer. This was a senseless and simple to avoid tragedy, but it wasn’t good for the Wisconsin business of deer killing and that is why the DNR was so concerned. If people see videos like this and start feeling a kinship with wildlife, then they may be less willing to kill it for “sport”. Though, I always thought the best sport was when both side knew they were playing and wanted to play. Maybe it should be renamed “Deer Bullying”? Pick a defenseless victim and scare them until you can shoot them. Sounds like the definition of a bully, doesn’t it?

      • Dale Hubbard

        Frank, why is that stupid and why doesn’t the DNR want it?

  • Halla Nursery

    Halla Nursery
    This is a lose that could have been prevented. I have hundreds of people come into Halla Nursery with questions about deer browsing on their gardens and shrubs. Most deer repellents, if you read the label, have as a main ingredient whole eggs. The whole eggs are just rotten eggs, which the deer hate the smell of. They are all good products, but when it rains, even though they say it will stay on, wash away 60% with the rain. These products work great, but are not cost effective and range in price from $18.99 to $49.99.
    Here are two things that I use at my home. Take 6 eggs and crack them into a small Mason canning jar(get one at Goodwill 50 cents, mix them up. Take the lid and punch holes in it like a salt shaker. Put this in your garden, each jar will cover about 200 sq feet and will last about 2 months and will not wash away with the rain. This is a cost of about $1.75
    Another thing is to take Irish Spring bar soap, quarter it and put each one in a old nylon. Put these about 5 feet apart. This is good for a small garden, say 5 by 15 feet.

    • Sue

      @Halla Nursery Thanks for the advise, your right this could have been prevented.

    • Dave Hanson

      @halla nursery I tried the egg thing works great.

    • kevin

      sad thing is……the neighbors were offered several gallons of “deer off” by this family……they even said they’d come by and spray it for them……the neighbors simply replied “I’ll wait til hunting season.” ……..the neighbors are grade-A arseholes.

    • Duncan McCannel

      We gave the three complainers and ample supply of “Deer Off” and the reply by all was “We are not going to put any of that GD stuff in our gardens”>

  • Tina

    This reply is for Dave above you heartless jerk!! The summer sausage comment was uncalled for. My husband and I both hunt and these people are our friends. We would have never ever shot a deer with a collar on. We are not that greedy. Our friends gave this fawn another chance at a happy life. All we have are memories of Buddy now. A 3 legged deer that just wanted to be loved. If you have pets lets turn them into sausage fool!!

  • Lisa Janssen

    I feed a large group of deer in the winter, some of which have become quite tame. A few years ago one of the deer lost part of his leg. He was in pain and the other deer would pick on him and not let him eat. He was having great difficulty getting around in the deep snow. I contacted DNR and asked if they could come out and put him out of his misery. The DNR person I spoke with was very nice as he explained to me that “deer have a huge will to survive and that he will get used to the pain and lack of use of his leg”. He assured me that the deer would be o.k.”. He was not o.k and instead he died a slow painful death. I should have called back and said that this deer ate my flowers! Obviously the DNR responds to ridiculous people whining about ridiclous things much quicker than they respond to a call regarding a suffering animal. I really don’t think that having Buddy on 116 acres was contributing to chronic wasting disease. If it did contribute then you can be sure that the neighbors flowers were a contributing factor as well. Whom ever made the decision that the remedy to this so called problem was to shoot this beautiful creature, should be ashamed of themselves and lose their job “power”. As for the flower loving neighbors… I think your flowers are a nuisance as I am alergic to the bees that they attract, and good luck to you should you ever need DNR for a real problem. Lastly, may the McCannel family find peace in knowing that they made Buddy’s two years on earth the best two years that any creature could ever have! I believe that all animals go to heaven. I imagine that Buddy is on a pontoon boat up there munching away on all kinds of tasty flowers.

    • Ditto from MN

      “Lastly, may the McCannel family find peace in knowing that they made Buddy’s two years on earth the best two years that any creature could ever have! I believe that all animals go to heaven. I imagine that Buddy is on a pontoon boat up there munching away on all kinds of tasty flowers.”

  • T. Nugent

    Dave, what a horrible comment. why drown the taste if venison in a sausage, when you can have the full flaver of jerky!
    I have a problem with people who “adopt” and treat animals better than people. I doubt deer feel “loved”, moreover they feel “fed”. the deer wont miss you, news flash it dosent Care about you! you are a free, easy meal ticket. I guess helping fellow man isnt as rewarding as nursing usless beast. you “saved” this deer for your personal enjoyment and false satisfaction of a job well done. respect the deer and nature, quick kill and EAT IT!

    • me

      they don’t call him the motor city MADMAN for nothing. Personally, I find that people like you are a free meal ticket on our society- stop wasting my air and resources!!!! I guess if “the Nuge” lived next door to me, I’d probably shoot him for being an eyesore to nature myself. No loss there…

    • kevin

      you obviously have NO CLUE about what you’re talking about. I knew Buddy personally and he DID care about us. Food or not, when he saw anyone of us he would get really excited and start running laps around the cabin til we were ready to go for a walk. He loved playing with the dogs and loved sneaking up on people to give them a lick upside the cheek. You’re an idiot who should have his tongue removed so that the world doesnt have to suffer another ignorant, moronic comment from your pie hole. See you in hell, prick

    • Dale Hubbard

      You should respect nature and leave the deer to its natural predators and environment. Regardless of whether the deer loved the family, the humans (which you claim other humans should be nicer too) loved the deer and you just made those humans feel worse with your thoughtless comments and insensitive remarks. What should we call people like you who are neither nice to animal nor humans?

      The only false satisfaction is when people like you think you “accomplished” something by killing a defenseless animal with advanced weaponry. Saving a life in this world, regardless of species, is a far greater accomplishment that requires far more work than simply taking that life. Anyone can point a gun or bow and kill animals without natural defenses (also much like a human), but it takes a great type of person to invest emotionally in saving that life.

      Perhaps you should re-evaluate your own statements and “help your fellow man” instead of disparaging him.

    • Renee

      Ah yes- all life is merely here to serve ‘man’- there is no other ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ for anything. Nothing has any intrinsic value on its own- if not to serve man- and anyone who cares for, loves and respects animals, of course does not care about humans… The two things are never related, they are always diametrically opposed.
      UH HUH -NEWS FLASH Ted ‘Nougat’ wanna be-there is more here than a ‘box of rocks for brains’ throw back such as yourself would ever comprehend – so it is pointless to explain to you what this MUTUAL love was about. But you might have someone read to you from a dictionary – have them look up the word respect.

  • Kelly

    T, Nugent, you must be one lonely person. Obviously you have never experienced the love of a pet. I think you are a unless beast

  • red

    Dave you are sick

  • PJ

    They “found” the deer. A further explanation of that event would be good. That was the moment a wrong decision was made. It should have been left where it was. It is possible it would have perished as in Lisa’s case. It is also possible it would have survived without their interference. We observed a three legged doe on our farm and were sure it would not last the winter. The next spring she gave birth to twins, which she hid in the grove. She lived for another year and a half. It is very hard to let nature take it’s course when an animal is suffering or appears doomed, but it is the best way.The McCannel’s seem to have a realistic perspective on what the deer’s chances were as a pet. Wrong or right, at least they gave the animal some time it may not have had. It sounds like it gave something back as well.

    • kevin

      The dogs found the deer. When one of the dogs tried to attack it, the other dog stepped in and protected it. Thats when the fawn imprinted on the protecting dog (he’s the brownish dog in the story’s pics). They DID leave the fawn there. The next morning the brown dog was missing so they went to go check the spot where the fawn was….and there he was, curled up around baby Buddy. From that day on they adopted him as one of their own. Is that enough explanation?

  • Lanie

    It’s easy to treat people better than animals T. Nugent…. People are idiots, much like yourself! These people had a huge heart for taking this deer in, more people should be like them. I’m half tempted to go through and pick every dang flower on those peoples property.

  • Animal Lover

    Neighbors complaining about their flowers being ate? Give me a break…another heartless act by the DNR!

  • PAM

    Where has COMMON SENSE gone?? Punishment didn’t fit the crime. Don’t outsmart your common sense…….

  • kevin

    go troll some where else you prick…….I’d sooner gut one of your pets and tell you how THAT tasted

  • Susan Laux

    RIP Buddy, I can’t believe someone shot you because of some flowers ;((( Susan from Lexington, Ky

  • John Reynolds

    The DNR didn’t kill Buddy to protect the flowers otherwise they would have to kill deer by the hundreds. If you call about a deer eathing your flowers or your garden they’ll tell you they can’t do anything.

    It also has nothing to do with CWD.

    This is about discouraging people to “tame” wildlife.

    • Dale Hubbard

      You mean tame “more” wildlife, right? We have tamed the wolf into dogs, we have almost tamed a breed of fox and then there are chickens, cows, horses, sheep, goats, mules, homing pigeons, rats, snakes, iguanas, exotic birds, etc… The list is impossibly long to list all the wildlife we have tamed over the years. The DNR objects to taming this species for what reason if it is none of those you listed above?

  • Anne

    Buddy the deer did not have chronic-wasting disease, and he most likely was not posing much of a risk to humans. So one would have to ask: What was this really about?
    If this was about flowers: The DNR lacks common sense! What other ridiculous responses will we see from them in the future? A massive assault on the deer and bunny populations? They all eat flowers. Even the wild ones!
    If it was about teaching this family and others a lesson about the law: The DNR is malicious and vindictive. In human court, it seems there is at least an attempt to achieve justice and some semblance of common sense.
    While there should be laws regulating the handling of wildlife, where’s the common sense here? Where’s the compassion? Does the DNR have either?
    The DNR obviously needs new leadership and competent staff – staff capable of developing diplomatic, compassionate ways to handle these types of situations.

  • Kris

    I am so sorry to hear Buddy was killed by the DNR. I had a pet deer named “Annie”. At deer season I wrote a peom and plastered it up in the woods on three lengths of poster board asking the hunter to please spare her life. She mad it thru the first season…she would even chase after the school bus when I left early in the mornings. She swam with me and made many friends with our resort customers, too. It was years later before i learned the truth about her disappearance…a neighborhood “friend” shot her despite she was decked out in orange. My sincere sympathy for your loss.

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