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Man suspected of harassing deer in lake says he was trying to help, DNR report shows

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A Moorhead man could face charges after witnesses say he circled a buck with a pontoon boat until it drowned. He told authorities however he was trying to help the animal get to shore.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released its report of the Sept. 6 incident on Tulaby Lake in northwestern Minnesota, and has passed it along to the Mahnomen County Attorney's Office, which will consider charges against the 55-year-old man.

Witnesses told the DNR the man was following the deer that was swimming in the lake, circling it and preventing it from getting to shore. The deer then became exhausted and died.

The deer did not appear to have any other injuries, the DNR report says.

But the suspect says he wasn't trying to hurt the deer, the DNR's report shows. He told investigators he had been fishing when he noticed something swimming and went to check it out.

When he got closer to the deer, it began swimming farther out in the lake, so he attempted to turn the deer back towards shore using his pontoon. He told investigators he stayed 50 yards from the deer.

The DNR is recommending the man be charged with a misdemeanor for using a motor vehicle to intentionally drive or chase a wild animal, the Star Tribune reports.

Richard Sprouse of the DNR told BringMeTheNews that reports of animal harassment are not common, noting he has rarely heard or seen it in officer reports over the past 20 years.

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