State DEP biologists remove arrow from injured deer's face
- State DEP biologists remove arrow from injured deer's face
By Nanci G. Hutson
The News-Times/Wendy Carlson
State Department of Environmental Protection biologists Michael Gregonis,
left, and Howard Kilpatrick monitor a sedated deer after removing an arrow
from the deer's face Thursday in New Milford.
NEW MILFORD - Under a dark sky with the constellation of Orion the Hunter
twinkling above, a doe shot through the face with a poacher's arrow was
rescued after state biologists tranquilized the deer Thursday and removed
the bulk of the arrow's stem.
"It's a good night to have an arrow removed right under Orion the archer,"
said Lisa Todd, caretaker at Harrybrooke Park.
Todd, her husband, Stanley, and their 13-year-old son, Stan Jr., paced the
porch of their cottage as they waited for state Department of Environmental
Protection biologists to track the doe. The DEP workers fired a tranquilizer
dart as the deer dined with a flock of fellow does and a fawn at feeder in
"It's like being in a waiting room," Stanley Todd said as they awaited the
fate of the animal who was pierced with the arrow about three weeks ago.
From their living room window, the Todds kept an eye out for the wounded
deer as several others approached the feeder just after dusk. The doe was
the last to arrive, skittish about joining the group after two nights
earlier she became the target of the dart gun.
This time, biologist Howard Kilpatrick and partner Michael Gregonis dressed
in camouflage jackets and hid a few hundred feet away from the feeder. They
waited for her to approach close enough to guarantee a clean shot.
Inside the house, there was dead silence until the Todds saw the flash of
the red laser, and the deer scattered.
"They got her," Stanley Todd shouted as his wife gasped into her hands.
They continued to watch as the biologists waited to trace where the deer
would eventually drop. A nervous Lisa Todd paced back and forth from the
porch to the living room window fearing that somehow the dart might have
"I'm shaking," she said.
Within 20 minutes, the biologists called to say they had located the animal
and were attempting to remove the arrow from her head.
Stanley Todd walked out to where the deer lay on the ground while his wife
and son lingered back so they wouldn't spook her when she awoke. He watched
as they gently pried the arrow away and treated the wound with antibacterial
ointment. Though the steel tip could not be removed, the arrow portion
sticking from her face was removed, so the deer is likely to recover.
The Todds were notified about two weeks ago that a doe was spotted with an
arrow between her eyes and nose. Then last week, their son was watching the
feeder when he saw her come up to graze on the molasses-covered pellets and
corn in the tray.
The Todds alerted wildlife and state officials about the deer and were told
that the only option was to euthanize the animal. Dissatisfied, they pleaded
again. That's when Kilpatrick volunteered to rescue the deer.
DEP Wildlife Division Director Dale May said this type of injury is
extraordinarily rare, and most hunters make sure they kill the animals they
have in their sights. But he suspected that this animal was shot after
hunting season ended Dec. 31.
After missing the doe on Tuesday night, Kilpatrick said Thursday he hoped
they would have better luck. He said he'd hate to have a deer wandering
through the woods with an arrow inhibiting her sight and ability to eat from
From his sightings of the doe, Stanley Todd said she appeared remarkably
healthy, and he only saw some slight swelling on her cheek bone.
Todd, who is a hunter, said he believes hunters have to be responsible. He
found it disturbing that someone let the animal suffer, even if the arrow
was mistakenly fired.
His wife has such a tender spot for the deer that every winter she makes
sure they are properly fed.
"They're really smart," Todd said. "And they're interesting to watch."
After the deer was rescued, their son gleefully announced that he couldn't
wait to tell his friends about the rescue.
"I can tell everyone it was a success," Stan Jr. said. "Oh, that's so cool."
As the family headed back to their cottage, they stopped under the stars for
a group hug.
"It's a happy ending," said Stanley Todd.
Contact Nanci G. Hutson
or at (860) 354-2274.
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