It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it seems even the wildlife is getting into the holiday spirit. Recently, an Oregon buck was spotted with a mess of Christmas lights tangled in its antlers. While we’re happy to see everyone enjoying the festivities, we’re also pleased to know the deer has been released from its colorful captor.
The News Tribune reports the buck was first spotted with Christmas lights tangled in its antlers just before Thanksgiving. About a week later, OR’s Dallas Police Department saw the animal a second time. With the help of wildlife officials, authorities were able to track down the buck and remove the lights from its rack.
Per the news outlet, wildlife experts sedated the deer while carefully removing the mass of lights. Before releasing it, they marked it with a bright yellow tag. OR’s Department of Fish and Wildlife posted photos of the deer before and after the rescue on Facebook. The pictures saw lots of love from wildlife enthusiasts. However, a few people were curious about the tags.
“Why does he have ear tags?” one person commented on the Facebook post. ODFW had a simple explanation.
“We tagged it in case it left the city limits and was harvested, or if it was struck by a car and salvaged as part of the Roadkill Salvage Program,” wildlife experts explained. “We put the local ODFW office number on the tag so that a hunter can call and find out if it’s safe to eat.”
Per their comment, the sedative used to untangle the lights from the buck’s antlers takes approximately 30 days for the drugs to leave its system. This means it takes that long before the deer is safe to eat.
Officials Urge Public to be Mindful of Decoration Placement Following Buck Debacle
Wildlife officials kept things lighthearted on social media in regard to the buck’s mess of Christmas lights. They teased locals, “To all of you Clark Griswolds out there, we know you love decorating for Christmas but this is a step too far! This buck got a head start on decking the halls.”
Residents were equally amused by the debacle. Some responded, “I’m glad he was released from his Rudolph duties,” and joked, “The deer who stole Christmas.”
Still, as humorous as the situation was, officials encouraged locals to be mindful about where they put up decorations. They most prominently advised hanging lights higher up in trees and shrubbery so that bucks can’t reach them. This is especially important as many bucks have begun rubbing and scraping their antlers against trees. This is typically so they can mark their territory and assert dominance.
Aside from preventing further buck Christmas light debacles, officials also urged residents to take down volleyball nets and hammocks in the fall and winter while not in use.