My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties


Submitted photo.

A photo of a deer with a musky fishing lure stuck in its mouth was making its rounds on social media.  Many people were concerned about the deer and were making comments and sharing the photo and its caption, which stated the DNR would not do anything to help the deer.  The deer was seen in the Springstead area.

My Northern Wisconsin contacted the DNR on February 13, 2023 to see what could be done.  Robin Miller, Recreation Warden for the Northern Region-Central, replied that she was not aware of the situation but advised we contact the wildlife biologist in the county where the deer was seen.  My Northern Wisconsin and Robin both contacted Jenna Malinowski, local biologist for Iron County.

Jenna replied a few days after, as she had been in the field, that the DNR was working on the situation.  She stated that animal health concerns can be complicated, requiring careful planning and discussion between agencies and the state veterinarian.  "An effort to remove the lure was recently attempted but was unsuccessful," she first stated.  She added they were developing a plan.

On February 17th, Jasmine Batten, Supervisor for the DNR's Wildlife Health Section in their Wildlife Management Program, contacted My Northern Wisconsin to say she was in touch with the Wildlife Veterinarian who was consulting with and advising local staff about the deer.

She stated that after the first failed attempt to help the deer, the veterinarian advised that the best option would be chemical immobilization with a dart gun.  She then followed up stating, "Because of equipment malfunction during the darting attempt, the animal could not be properly immobilized, and, therefore, the musky lure could not be removed.  Staff continue to monitor the situation and have not ruled out the possibility that additional attempts might be made."

Jasmine added that, while the lure was distressing to look at, it did not appear to be harming the deer or stopping it from eating or drinking.  She said the deer appeared to be in good condition.

On February 20th, Jasmine advised My Northern Wisconsin that the deer no longer had the lure in its mouth.  The DNR did not have to take further steps, and it appears the lure came out on its own.  The DNR's biologist received a photo of the deer on the 19th to confirm the lure was gone.  The deer has a distinctive notch missing out of its ear, so they were able to identify the deer.  Jasmine concluded, "I am thankful to live in a place where so many people care deeply for our wildlife."

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(This post was last modified: 02-24-2023, 02:54 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)