By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
As we gather around the campfire and fireplace during this holiday season, J.R. Dunsmore has a cautionary tale to share about white-tailed deer as pets.
“Just don’t do it,” said the 69-year-old Dunsmore, who lives just outside Guntersville. “They are dangerous. I didn’t know how dangerous. Now, when I wake up I see half the world, because this (right) half is gone. It can’t be fixed.”
Wearing a patch over his right eye, Dunsmore relived the moment when the buck (named Zeke) that he considered a pet reverted to the normal behavior of a wild animal and almost killed the Marshall County resident.
“I had a limb off a tree that had acorns on it,” said Dunsmore, who had illegal captive deer in a 1 1/2-acre pen behind his house. “I would pick acorns up off the ground and dump buckets full of them into the pen. I looked around and didn’t see the buck. I opened the gate, stepped through and threw the limb into the pen. When I threw the limb, undoubtedly he was standing against the fence behind me because he just picked me up by the legs and carried me down to a tree and or stump. I really can’t tell you which one he put me against.