- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

LEAD, S.D. (AP) - Lead Police Chief John Wainman says one of his officers who shot and killed a mule deer buck with large antlers in the backyard of a residence was acting on his orders and in the interest of public safety.

Officers responded to a complaint from the home’s residents on Oct. 21, Wainman told the Black Hills Pioneer (https://bit.ly/1wBGhJa ). The deer was acting strangely, and the chief said he made the decision to err on the side of caution and have the department’s sharpshooter kill the animal.

“I understand that people may be upset, but I own my decision,” Wainman said. “We’re not trophy hunting. I would do the same thing if it were a spike buck or a yearling fawn.”

A spike buck is a young deer with antlers that have not yet branched.

The incident has led to a lot of phone calls from city residents who are upset about the shooting, Wainman said. However, the officer can’t keep the deer meat or the rack.

The meat will be donated, per police department policy, and the state Game, Fish and Parks Department will auction off the head and antlers, agency Conservation Officer Mike Apland said.

Apland also said Lead police did nothing wrong.

“We give law enforcement officers the ability to put down animals they deem necessary - deer, lions, whatever,” he said.

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com

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