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This has been bothering me for probably 20 years or so and I just wanted to put it out there as a lesson learned.

Was hunting deer with a few friends in Berks County when we heard a rifle shot probably a couple hundred yards out to our front and over a good rise in a heavily wooded area. We were taking a break and were in a line of 4 guys standing stationary on the downhill side of a hill - just standing and listening.
Then suddenly we saw several deer, maybe 4 or 5, come over that far hill (100 yards or so out) running diagonally form left to right in front of us and we all got ready.
It became evident that they were all doe and as I was the guy on the far right they passed right in front of me at maybe 25 yards and again they were on a diagonal path left to right.
Then I saw that one of the doe had a bloody right shoulder and that leg was spinning around like a windmill - and I let her go by because I did not have a doe license.
I should have shot that deer and put her out of her misery and taken whatever penalty or punishment was to come my way but I did not and I regret it to this day and still think about it from time to time. At the time the only thing that crossed my mind was that the deer had been shot by another hunter and I did not have the proper license to shoot it again and end it for her.
Would not do the same thing ever again licensed or not.
 

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That's a tough situation to suddenly find yourself in, especially if you respect game laws. I agree with you in that if an animal is suffering a life threatening wound, I'd rather put it down and face the fine etc. However, animals are so tough that it's often impossible to tell how serious it is. If I hear and understand your story correctly, that injured deer you saw still ran several hundred yards after shot, on 3 legs, while keeping up with the other deer. She wouldn't be the first 3 legged deer to survive. My taxidermist even knows of a 3 legged buck that hung out with a 3 legged doe! Thanks for sharring.
 

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That's a tough situation to suddenly find yourself in, especially if you respect game laws. I agree with you in that if an animal is suffering a life threatening wound, I'd rather put it down and face the fine etc. However, animals are so tough that it's often impossible to tell how serious it is. If I hear and understand your story correctly, that injured deer you saw still ran several hundred yards after shot, on 3 legs, while keeping up with the other deer. She wouldn't be the first 3 legged deer to survive. My taxidermist even knows of a 3 legged buck that hung out with a 3 legged doe! Thanks for sharring.
I killed a doe back in the late 80s on a game lands that only had 3 legs, was missing one front leg from the knee down and the hide had healed over the stump and looked like leather. I never knew the deer only has 3 legs when I shot he and she was walking at the time. A person't feelings do not over ride the law and unless you have advanced permission from a game officer you should not take it upon yourself to kill an animal you do not have a license to kill.
 

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I had a three legged doe at my place a few years back that got around pretty good. In fact that three legged doe had twins for three seasons before she disappeared.
 

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They often survive just fine on three legs. Animals are a lot tougher than we can ever begin fathom.
 

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Back in the 90's we had a 3 legged doe that hung around our camp, for 5 years we saw her every summer with her twin fawns, we even seen her in Buck season, but never seen her come doe season. She never had a problem getting around.
 

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A deer shot in the leg stands a good chance of survival. One shot in the actual shoulder, a much lesser chance. Sure, she could live, but more than likely won't make it.

I've seen several 3 legged deer over the years. All appeared to get along ok.
 

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I saw two three legged deer this year archery hunting. I have seen the doe for three years and the buck for two years. Both were healed over and the deer appeared to be doing well with good body shape. What we think is a fatal wound may not always be. I feel you dilemma though. Even though we hunt, which involves killing, we don't want any animal to die a lingering death.

If a deer comes by with its guts hanging out or lower jaw blown off, sometimes it may be best to do what needs to be done, even though it may not be legal.

In the situation you described, I think you made the right call at the time. Hopefully you feel better just from hearing from others here.
 

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It's definitely a judgement call, and one where worrying about what the letter of the law is should not play a roll. Just my opinion, but what is just is not always legal. If an animal is going to suffer, I'm going to dispatch it.
 

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Breaking the law is not the "right thing to do". If you do find yourself in that situation again I can only hope that if you do shoot, you "do the right thing" and turn yourself in !
 
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simoncool, I get what you are saying but what if it only makes the deer uncomfortable for a couple weeks or a month and then they get used to their ailment, and go about their routine, as best they can? Got this buck on video that obviously has a useless back left leg (hit by a car/shattered hip or femur perhaps) but, I got him on other videos actually hobbling after a doe, hot on her trail. With the messed up antler on the opposite side, he has likely been living with this for at least one antler growing season so this is just his new normal. He looked healthy, otherwise, on camera. Deer are definitely tough critters.

 

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simoncool, I get what you are saying but what if it only makes the deer uncomfortable for a couple weeks or a month and then they get used to their ailment, and go about their routine, as best they can? Got this buck on video that obviously has a useless back left leg (hit by a car/shattered hip or femur perhaps) but, I got him on other videos actually hobbling after a doe, hot on her trail. With the messed up antler on the opposite side, he has likely been living with this for at least one antler growing season so this is just his new normal. He looked healthy, otherwise, on camera. Deer are definitely tough critters.

https://youtu.be/5fmGZFKKTb8
Yep, like I said , it's a judgement call. Always best to do what YOU feel is right. You won't find the answer on the internet. It's you that have to live with your actions.:wink2:
 

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This has been bothering me for probably 20 years or so and I just wanted to put it out there as a lesson learned.

Was hunting deer with a few friends in Berks County when we heard a rifle shot probably a couple hundred yards out to our front and over a good rise in a heavily wooded area. We were taking a break and were in a line of 4 guys standing stationary on the downhill side of a hill - just standing and listening.
Then suddenly we saw several deer, maybe 4 or 5, come over that far hill (100 yards or so out) running diagonally form left to right in front of us and we all got ready.
It became evident that they were all doe and as I was the guy on the far right they passed right in front of me at maybe 25 yards and again they were on a diagonal path left to right.
Then I saw that one of the doe had a bloody right shoulder and that leg was spinning around like a windmill - and I let her go by because I did not have a doe license.
I should have shot that deer and put her out of her misery and taken whatever penalty or punishment was to come my way but I did not and I regret it to this day and still think about it from time to time. At the time the only thing that crossed my mind was that the deer had been shot by another hunter and I did not have the proper license to shoot it again and end it for her.
Would not do the same thing ever again licensed or not.
Worse case scenario, you claim it was a "mistake kill" (you have 24hrs to do so I believe) and pay the $25....I would have shot her, to each their own.
 

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Kind of takes away from the "ethical" excuse for doing it if you have to lie about how it happened, so much for the courage of one's convictions.
 

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There's one hanging around the farm I hunt with what appears to be broken/separated shoulder. All of the leg-injured deer I've seen before held what's left of the leg up but this one just drags along. She moves really slow and makes a ton of noise, pretty much just hangs out in the same hollow as far as I can tell. I wish I would have shot her, but at the time I thought the same thing about 3 legged deer being fine and she was so little. After thinking about it though, if it's a separated shoulder I don't think that can ever heal on it's own and she'll be in a whirl of pain until somebody does shoot her.
 

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Of course now that you have a long time to think about it, your view may change. In the few moments you have in a situation like that it's easy to second guess.

That said, I have a 3 legged beagle that will absolutely run the tar out of a rabbit.
 

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A person't feelings do not over ride the law and unless you have advanced permission from a game officer you should not take it upon yourself to kill an animal you do not have a license to kill.
Is there law/code that states it is lawful to do something under the guidance of a law enforcement officer that would otherwise be illegal? I'm not aware of any such regulation. Unless it exists, it is still just as illegal, just less likely to be prosecuted.

I would wager that there isn't a law enforcement officer out there that didn't allow his feelings to over ride the law, and rightfully so. Law is typically black and white, totally blind to vast amount of grey in our world. Thankfully, law enforcement and judicial systems often use common sense to sort through the grey despite the letter of the law.

Where that leaves us is with feelings indeed "overriding" the law on a regular basis. The amount of government-granted power the person with the feelings has does not make something any more or less right. We all need to do what we believe to be right and ethical. There will be times when those choices run counter to lawfulness. Throughout history, many have, thankfully, chosen to do the right thing despite direct disobedience of law regarding issues much more serious and with much graver consequences than any game code violation.
 

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Guess there are lots of 3 legged deer stories. A few years ago neighbor calls me during winter that there's a 3 legged deer hobbling around by his cabin ( a weekend place for him from NJ). He's worried the deer was suffering and asked if he should shoot it. I say it's illegal regardless. He asks if he calls PGC will they give him permission. I reply not likely, and that deer are pretty tough animals and he might make it just fine. He accepts that.
Calls me a few months later, saw the same deer, seems to be doing okay to his supprise. I see him by my place (just over the hill from him) during the next winter and into the following spring. Yep tough animals they are. Of course an injury like that could go either way.

Would be nice if something could be written into the law to cover such circumstances but obviously the temptation and subsequent likely abuse of such a law by the few makes it impractical.
 

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Probably 20 years ago my uncle was hunting small game after Christmas with his beagle. They were walking through a patch of pine trees and a bedded deer stood up and began to strike his dog with its front hooves. The deer was missing its lower jaws and looked like a skeleton. My uncle did what he thought was the ethical thing to do.
 
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