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'Tis the season ... for weird deer stories

Staff writer

Deer encounters are a regular experience this time of year, including strange tales.

When Brian Becker arrived at his Roosevelt Street home after work recently, he found that his son had left the back door open. Becker looked inside his garage and discovered a deer standing atop his pool table.

“He was concerned that the deer was going to ruin the top of the pool table so he smacked it on the hind quarters with his hand,” said Becker’s wife, Jeanine.

The pool table didn’t have a cover, just magazines spread out on the felt. When Becker thwacked the deer on its rump, the deer charged at him and knocked Becker into a pile of wood before running off. Becker suffered a minor scratch on his forehead but was fine, largely because the table felt didn’t tear.

“The pool table wasn’t damaged at all,” Jeanine Becker said.

That wasn’t the first odd deer encounter for the Beckers. The Becker family used to watch a herd of deer roam down Roosevelt Street a couple years ago. The buck would even run after the family golden retriever, often chasing the dog into the house.

“The buck would push and head butt against the door to get at him,” Jeanine Becker said.

Drivers encounter deer regularly, and striking one is not uncommon. Striking two at once is, however.

That’s what happened to Donald Rosfeld, who in mid-September was driving his 1991 Chevy pickup eastbound on 120th Rd. between Chisholm Trail and Diamond Rd. at night. He struck and killed two deer. Neither Rosfeld nor his wife Mary, a passenger, was injured. The collision damaged the truck’s grill and lights and bent the hood back, but the windshield remained intact.

“We weren’t going terribly fast,” said Mary. “There’s no warning in the dark.”

Another unusual deer story repeated around the county involved genetic and hormonal variations. A Marion County hunter shot and killed what he thought was an 8-point buck.

“Then the hunter looked and discovered it wasn’t a buck. It was a female,” said Lloyd Fox, biologist and big game program director for the state wildlife department. “It’s a biological thing. First, it’s a toss of the coin, with an X and Y chromosome, but then there’s a whole lot of hormonal situations that can cause something else.”

Some females with antlers lose their antlers, while other females with antlers do not.

“There are variations,” Fox said.

There’s also the magnificent cactus buck.

“The cactus buck doesn’t shed his antlers and continues to have velvet on them. It’s just the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen,” Fox said.

Deer sightings in Marion and other towns are not uncommon. Fawns resting in front of the library are.

“We usually see their tracks but don’t usually see them,” said librarian Janet Marler. “And seeing babies like that is really rare.”

The fawns hung around the library for about an hour just as the library was opening one morning in late November.

“They would have stayed longer, but people were coming in and they went away,” Marler said. “We loved having them around.”

Sharon Ratzloff Terrel and her husband Rick drove from Oklahoma into Marion when they had to stop the car.

“Rick and I waited for what we call the Town Buck to cross the street Thanksgiving night,” Ratzloff said on social media. “Only in Marion.”

Last modified Dec. 18, 2014

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