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Dead deer found at Medford's Brooks Estate remain a mystery

Posted by Matt Byrne  November 28, 2011 12:45 PM

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The deer carcasses covered by brush.

A city employee out for stroll earlier this month at the Brooks Estate discovered two dead deer, apparently poached of their meat and antlers.

But state environmental officials say the animals were road kill, despite no explanation for how they were killed or how their antlers were apparently removed.

The discovery was made by Stephanie M. Burke, director of personnel and budget, who was walking in the wooded property Nov. 14 when she came upon the two carcasses, she said in a phone interview.

"The way they looked they were kind of snuggled together," Burke said, and hypothesized that the animals could have been killed elsewhere and dumped in Medford.

Medford Animal Control Officer Patrick Hogan said because of advanced decay he could not determine how the animals were killed, but was said they were likely slain illegally.

“It's totally impossible that they died right on top of each other like that,” Hogan said. “It looked like someone had poached them and cut ‘em up for meat but didn't know how.”

Police did not return multiple calls for comment about the incident. It was unclear if the animals were killed at the estate grounds or were dumped from elsewhere.

Deer are known to populate the area, Hogan and others said. In a phone interview, Mayor Michael J. McGlynn said neither he nor police had heard of any reports of gunshots in the area. Discharge of a firearm is illegal in Medford, as well as against state gun laws.

After the initial discovery, Hogan said he notified the state Environmental Police. After a week and the state agency hadn’t contacted him, Hogan buried the carcasses near where they were found.

“We wanted to see if somebody wanted to investigated it,” he said, explaining the decision to leave them untouched. “I guess they decided not to.''

Reginald Zimmerman, assistant press secretary for the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that oversees the Environmental Police, said an initial inquiry showed no record of a complaint to the department. But he said later after making further inquiry that investigators said the deer were likely hit by cars in the area.

Zimmerman refuted any suggestion of poaching, and posited that the flesh wounds were caused by the impact of the car, but he could not explain the antler theft.

The Brooks Estate welcomes dog-walkers and others to roam the 50-acre property and hike its trails. Hunting is prohibited, although elsewhere in the state on legal hunting grounds, bow season ran from Oct. 17 to Nov. 26, according to Mass Wildlife.

Burke, meanwhile, guessed that the animals could have been killed outside of the city and dumped.

"I'm thinking hunters from out of state came in and did their thing,” she said. "It's just a sad thing to see."

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