Urban "hunters" are decimating a herd of mostly tame deer that roam the woods of Detroit's island park, Belle Isle. In the last two years, about 65 of the herd's 100 deer have been shot.
Tom Molyneaux, Belle Isle Nature Center supervisor, said most of the animals were shot by vandals who killed for the sake of killing.
Two bucks were found lying on the roadside last October, victims of small-caliber bullets through the shoulders and hearts, he said.
Wolf mattes, senior naturalist, said, the shots that killed the two bucks most likely came from a .22-caliber rifle or a similar light weapon.
"It wasn't a .30-.06 or any deer rifle. Probably somebody got a gun and wanted to see if it would knock down a deer," Mattes said.
He said the two bucks were especially tame and unafraid of humans, making them easy targets for their killers.
"They would come up to the center every morning to eat corn out of our hands," he said.
Fallow deer were introduced to Belle Isle when a heard of 27 was donated to the city in 1937. The deer -- brown to yellowish-white in color and smaller than the American white tail deer -- are native to Europe where they roam many public parks.
Since their introduction to Belle Isle, the deer have been allowed to reproduce naturally.