Neighbors at Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte are horrified and furious after seeing stray deer with arrows shot at their heads.

“So horrible,” posted a woman from the Starmount neighborhood in South Charlotte on NextDoor.

“I hunt occasionally and it turns me off,” said a resident of the Preston Flats community.

“Track down the (expletive) that did this,” a man from the Olde Providence North community told the site.

Residents saw a doe and fawn with arrows in their heads and posted photos of the deer on NextDoor.

“The arrows used aren’t even real hunting arrows, just training arrows,” Huntingtowne Farms resident Stephanie Kraska told the Charlotte Observer in an email.

Both deer appear to survive the trauma, according to articles on NextDoor.

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A resident posted this photo on NextDoor of a deer with an arrow in the head in the Starmount area south of Charlotte. Screenshot of the photo post on NextDoor

But a “mom with two fawns that has a short black arrow going to one side of her head and sticking out the other can’t put her tongue back in her mouth,” Kraska said.

It’s illegal

The Charlotte City Code prohibits shooting with a bow and arrow “except in an approved shooting range or range or with the permission of the City Council.”

The punishment, however, could only further aggravate those who are outraged by what has happened.

Sampson Parker Jr., the only state Wildlife Commission enforcement officer based in Mecklenburg County, said the shooters faced a simple fine of $ 50 plus court costs under the Charlotte’s order.

Still, NC wildlife officers are doing all they can to catch offenders, Sampson said.

He urged anyone who sees anyone shooting a bow and arrows to call the NC Wildlife Violations Hotline at 1-800-662-7137. An officer will be dispatched to the scene immediately, he said.

About two weeks ago, NC Wildlife responded to a report of a deer in Charlotte in the Greenway area with an arrow in its head, but the deer were long gone when the officer arrived, said Parker.

Happens every year

Such incidents happen every year at this time of year, according to Parker and Chris Matthews, director of nature reserves and natural resources at Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

“It’s just unfortunate that things like this are happening,” Matthews said. “I’ve seen reports like this for a long time … It’s quite disturbing.”

Neither Parker nor Matthews believe that a creepy serial deer attacker is on the run.

“Most of the time, what we see is a bad shot,” Parker said.

And a deer will “duck and spin” when it hears the thud of an arrow being thrown, he said.

Matthews, in a separate interview, agreed that a bad shot from someone with a bow and arrows could be at stake.

Filming elsewhere

Similar sightings of deer with arrows in their heads and bodies have gained media attention elsewhere in the country in recent years. and, in at least one case, an offer of a reward by a hunting organization.

A six-point buck with an arrow “coming straight out of his forehead” has become a local legend after sightings for more than a year in Crosslake, Minn., The Brainerd Dispatch reported in 2019.

A gun safety instructor told the newspaper he gets his students “to think about the consequences of bad shots. No one wants to leave an injured animal there.

In 2018, Oregon wildlife investigators were successful in eliminating arrows shot through several deer, according to a Facebook post by Oregon State Police at the time. The Oregon Hunters Association offered a reward of $ 500 in the case.

And in 2013, a New Jersey woman posted a photo on Facebook of a young deer she saw in her yard with an arrow to its head, the Washington Post reported.

Wildlife authorities tranquilized the deer, removed the arrow, and called the deer’s chances of survival “excellent.”

“Beyond the ignoble”

Some neighbors of Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte remain skeptical that poor shots led to arrows in the heads of deer. They insist that someone is shooting the deer on purpose.

“The arrow is a ‘lightning bolt’ from a crossbow and has a target point, not a broadhead normally used for hunting,” a resident of Myers Park East told NextDoor. “It wasn’t done by a hunter (but) … by someone who has a crossbow and just wants to shoot a deer in the head.”

But all agreed: the shooter or shooters must be caught and punished, and soon.

“Beyond contemptible !!” a man from Starmount posted on NextDoor

“Whoever shot this magnificent helpless stag needs a taste of his own irresponsible decision!” a woman from the Park South Station subdivision posted on the site.

This story was originally published November 12, 2021 11:07 am.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering the region’s population, municipalities and major current events, and was the editor of the newspaper’s press office. He is currently reporting the latest news.