A South Carolina family is asking hunters not to shoot and kill their pet deer “George,” a handsome seven-point buck who would otherwise be the envy of any hunter.
As The New York Post reports, the Funderburk family of Chester County took in George when he was just a young fawn. The buck had been orphaned when his mother was hit by a car, and the family cared for him and fed him. During that time, he’s bonded with the family members, including the children and the family’s other pet, the much more traditional dog.
However, George is a wild animal and, like all deer, needs to roam. To that end, the family lets him leave the property, and he’s often gone for months at a time. But he always comes back. The skeptic in you may say that he has simply learned where an ample supply of food is, while the poet in you may say that he’s learned to love his new “family.” Perhaps it’s a combination of both.
Nevertheless, with hunting season approaching, odds are that George may make an attractive target, especially when he’s not on the family’s private property. To that end, they’re asking area hunters, in a Facebook post, to think twice before pulling the trigger if they see him. And to make it extra-obvious that he’s a pet and not fair game (no pun intended), the family put bright yellow tape on his antlers.
They’re also asking the Facebook community to crowdsource his tracking. Using the hashtag “dontshootGeorge,” the family hopes that hunters will report where they’ve seen the animal so that the family can see where and how far he’s gone.
Already, one outdoorsman or -woman has noticed George and his bright yellow tape 15 miles away from the family home.
Already on Facebook people are sharing their own stories of George, or of other deer that have crossed paths with them. Most hunters are also promising to abide by the family’s wishes and not shoot their “pet.”
“Wow! George is getting around! Lol Hunters please be aware this a family n also fb family pet!# TEAM GEORGE!”
We’ve been using “pet” in quotation marks because deer, unlike dogs, cats, sheep, goats, and so on, have not been domesticated in general, and George specifically hasn’t been domesticated. And in fact, keeping a deer as a pet might be considered cruel. They’re herd animals and they need to be around other members of their species to be happy.
Nevertheless, if you’re out hunting in or around Chester County, South Carolina, and you spot a seven-point buck with yellow tape on his antlers, don’t shoot him.