HESPERIA, Mich. – A hunter says a deer he shot was stolen from him and his life was put in danger.
Mike Carlson says that he shot and tagged a deer while he hunted on state-owned land. “When I walked up, I saw the nicest buck I`d ever shot,” he said.
But a group of armed hunters stole the deer from him after he made the kill November 15 from his tree stand in Newaygo County.
Carlson said the law is on side and wants to know why his deer wasn’t returned to him.
Carlson said he tagged the deer, loaded it on a cart, and snapped a picture for his son. While he was pulling the buck through the woods, a group approached him.
“I see this guy come running,” said Carlson. “He has gun like this. He`s stumbling … He yells at me, ‘You`re not going anywhere with that deer.’”
He then made a call to police. He said the dispatcher told him it is not worth dying over a deer.
Carlson said one of the four hunters that approached him claimed they had shot the deer and were tracking it through the woods. Carlson said he delivered the fatal shot, and according to state law the buck belongs to him.
Carlson claims the fight for the deer got physical.
“Two of the guys grabbed the deer, ripped it right off my cart, dragging it away. I said, hey my tag is on it. He grabs the tag and shoves it on me … and says there is your tag.”
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said arguments over deer happen every year. “It can get quite heated and sometimes dangerous … and probably the best thing to do is call 911,” said DNR Lt. Timothy Robson.
Carlson said he played this one by the book. His 911 call prompted the DNR to investigate.
Robson said in some cases the state seizes the deer and donates it to charity. According to Carlson, the deer in question was handed over to a charity, but he’s still hoping that something more is done.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” said Carlson. “The law is supposedly on my side.”
According to the DNR, Carlson’s case is still under investigation. If evidence of a crime is collected, it will be turned over to the prosecutor’s office. If convicted of illegally removing a deer tag, a person could face fines and up to 90 days in jail.