FWC investigates 2 deer slain at Nature’s Classroom in Hillsborough

Rosie is on the left, and Bucky is on the right. The deer were killed in their pen.

THONOTOSASSA, Fla (WFLA) – Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are trying to figure out who killed two deer at Nature’s Classroom in Hillsborough County. A third deer was injured.

Authorities wouldn’t go into specifics about how Bucky and Rosie were killed, but they did tell News Channel 8 the deer were in a secured pen. The deer were used to interacting with people, officials said.

Bucky eats an apple. Rosie is next to him.

FWC Spokesman Gary Morse called it one of the worst cases he’s seen in his career. “I’ve been with the agency 39 years,” Morse said. “And this is certainly one of the more senseless acts that I’ve heard of.”

The attack happened a little more than a week ago at the facility run by the Hillsborough County School District. The center hosts sixth graders from throughout the county and exposes them to outdoors and wildlife. A spokeswoman for the district referred any calls regarding the investigation to FWC.

Rosie is on the left, and Bucky is on the right. The deer were killed in their pen.
Rosie is on the left, and Bucky is on the right. The deer were killed in their pen.

People who live in the area hadn’t heard about the killings and were appalled when they learned what happened. Tamara Beisler’s property backs up to Nature’s Classroom.

“I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never heard of a monstrosity like this,” Beisler said. “I have visited Nature’s Classroom. I have volunteered there, And for somebody to come in there and do that to animals that are used to being around people and fed.”

Christina McGuire lives across the street. “There are so many kids that enjoy the field trips that are here. there are almost daily trips to see the animals. They’re very well taken care of,” McGuire said. “Everyone is very close. The community is very close, and it’s very sad that you can’t trust people living around you.”

FWC is asking for any tips from the public regarding this case. You can remain anonymous when phoning in your information to the agency’s wildlife alert hotline and can be eligible for an award. Call 1-888-404-3922.

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