DNR officials are investigating reports that a deer drowned in a lake in northwestern Minnesota after being harassed to exhaustion by a pontoon driver over Labor Day weekend.
The Fargo Forum reports that a large buck was found dead in Tulaby Lake, in Becker and Mahnomen counties, on Sept. 6 by members of the Tulaby Lake Association Board.
According to KFGO, the deer was prevented from reaching the shore by the boater as it swam in the lake.
Board member Ray Thorkildson told the Forum: "The (guy) gets between the deer and land to block it and it turns away. Ultimately he ends up chasing it, according to a witness, and it ends up drowning — a beautiful big buck."
"I'm really upset and I sure hope something is done to the perpetrator."
According to the Star Tribune, one of the witnesses to the incident was another boater who confronted the pontoon driver and took photos of his craft, though he is believed to be a visitor using somebody else's boat.
The deer's body was found about 300 yards from shore.
"It's just a tragic event," another association member, Dan Peterson, told the Star Tribune. "From our standpoint, our lake association is in a beautiful wilderness area, wooded area, and our members are all about promoting and preserving and protecting."
Richard Sprouse of the DNR confirmed the investigation is ongoing, but the DNR did not comment on the incident. He did tell BringMeTheNews that reports of animal harassment are not common, noting he's rarely heard or seen it in officer reports over the past 20 years.