By Manuel Gamiz Jr.
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
November 24, 2012
A deer breeder in Lehigh County said vandals cut a fence almost two weeks ago and released his deer into the woods, including one he calls a trophy whitetail because of its impressive antlers.
With the start of deer hunting season fast approaching on Monday, Richard Vreeland, 70, of Washington Township, is offering a reward for the return of his deer or their racks.
Vreeland said about a week and a half ago someone cut the gate of his chain-link fence and some of the 18 deer he's raised fled into the woods.
Vreeland, a lifelong hunter, said the does and yearlings came back and some others were rounded up and placed back in their pens, but five massive bucks are still missing.
The prize of that group is a 4-year-old whitetailed deer named Rambo with a 170 to 175 antler score, he said.
"I know somebody out there will wind up getting him because it is the biggest thing they will see in the woods," Vreeland said.
Vreeland said he's been raising deer for four years, selling them to other breeders, who in turn sell trophy deer to outfits for private hunting.
Another part of his business is antler art and jewelry, he said. Vreeland said the five bucks are valued at $50,000, with Rambo the most valuable.
"He had a rack that would have been world class," he said. "Someone is going to shoot him."
He said he would like the bucks returned, but would settle for the racks because he needs to have them tested by the state as part of his business license. Vreeland said he would give an undisclosed amount for their return and it could be done discreetly rather than with police.
"Sooner or later they'll be drinking somewhere and they'll say something or the racks will show up in someone's garage," he said. "Someone will see it and they'll know it's possession of stolen property and they will get arrested for it."
State police are investigating the vandalism and advised Vreeland not to release his address, or he may attract hunters his way.
"There will be a million guys trying to squeeze into this area and someone is going to get hurt," he said.
Vreeland said the bucks may be in the woods of northwestern Lehigh County, Carbon County or Bucks County. He said there have been about 20 sightings of the bucks in the first week. Vreeland said about three days ago, they were spotted about a quarter-mile away from his farm.
"They joined up with eight or 10 doe," he said. "They aren't thinking about coming home now. They're thinking about breeding."
Anyone with information can call 610-573-4221 or state police at Bethlehem at 610-861-2026.
Vreeland also said if hunters leave his bucks alone, it may benefit the area in the long run.
"In two years, we can have world class deer in these woods," he said.