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Authorities remove deer after it runs through window into Janesville motel

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
October 28, 2011
— Call it “The Buck Suite.”

The Janesville Police Department, local veterinarians and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Thursday removed an unwanted guest from a room at a local motel: a 170-pound whitetail deer.


Janesville police responded at 10 a.m. to reports of a large male deer running around a parking lot and ramming parked cars at Target, 2017 Humes Road. The deer reportedly then ran across Milton Avenue, and into the parking lot at the Super 8 Motel, 3430 Milton Ave.


Janesville residents Travis Ackerman and Justin Bell were driving by when they saw the deer crash through a closed, ground-floor window leading into a room on the south side of the motel.


“It cruised straight into the window,” said Bell.


Ackerman and Bell ran into the motel to warn people inside. Angela Erickson, the motel manager, said at first she didn’t believe them, but then she started checking rooms. When she opened the door to room 104, there it was: a big buck with antlers staring right at her.


The deer had smashed in a mirror in the room, but when Erickson found it, it was standing as still as if it were in the woods.


“I just backed away and closed the door,” she said.


The room was empty at the time, Erickson said, although people were checked in.


Janesville police officers guarded the motel room door to keep the deer inside while they waited for local veterinarians and DNR authorities to tranquilize and remove the deer.


Janesville police officer Gary Myers said police didn’t want to shoot the deer or chase it back outside for fear it might run onto nearby roads and cause an accident.


Officers peeking inside the room said the deer remained alert but calm during the incident.


Dick Poff, a deer farm owner from Beloit, used a tranquilizer gun to shoot two sedative darts into the deer from the hallway. Local veterinarian Scott Spaulding and DNR biologist Brian Buenzow monitored the situation.


Police carried the subdued deer outside and onto a tarp shortly before noon. From there it was loaded into the bed of a pickup truck. Buenzow said the department planned to release the deer later Thursday at Storrs Lake Wildlife Area near Milton.


The deer had minor injuries to its snout from crashing through the window, authorities said, and it caused minor damages to the motel room.


Officials said they believed the deer had gone into fall rut and wandered into Janesville, where it became disoriented.


“It got into town, got confused and thought it was diving into a hole,” Buenzow said. “It ended up being a hotel window.”


Buenzow said after the ordeal Thursday that the deer’s main worry is gun deer season, which starts in a few weeks.


Erickson was sardonic about the incident, saying she won’t file an insurance claim. She joked that the motel doesn’t plan to charge the deer extra for the damages.


“He’s welcome back any time,” Erickson said. “The only thing we ask is that he just use the front door.”



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