375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples, FL
NAPLES — An arrow that had been hanging from the side of a deer shot near Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has fallen out, leaving only the tip still in the animal's left shoulder.
The deer has been walking around the Sanctuary Road neighborhood since the July 31 incident but was spotted Sunday without the shaft of the arrow -- a piece of equipment called a bolt shot from a crossbow.
Deer lovers Mary Jane and Truman Gay said they found the bolt in their yard, where they have been feeding deer for years.
The deer has come to symbolize a controversy over a permit issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that allows nursery owner across the street from the Gays to shoot deer that have been eating his tropical trees.
The permit, issued to N. Lewis Lesser, allows Lesser to take an unlimited number of deer from his property, as long as they are feeding on his trees, regardless of other hunting regulations.The permit expires Dec. 31 but can be renewed if the problem persists.
It is unclear whether the injured deer was shot on Lesser's property.
Lesser is required to report each deer taken from his property. So far, he has reported taking one deer, Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro said.
She said, though, that because it is archery hunting season, authorized hunters on Lesser's property can take up to two deer per day without triggering the permit's reporting requirement.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary managers had been talking with Lesser about the sanctuary paying to erect a fence to deer-proof his nursery but that plan is off the table, sanctuary assistant director Jason Lauritsen said.
Lauritsen said Lesser had gotten fed up with the unwanted public attention he has gotten over his permit.
"I think the fence is dead and gone," Lauritsen said. "I hope I'm wrong. I hope there's a change of heart out there."