Pet deer killed after refusing to hunt

A man convicted of poaching is a ‘cold-blooded murderer’, say the family whose beloved pet deer was shot and slaughtered on the spot.

Mark Anthony Walter, 62, admitted the illegal hunting charge but told the Otago Daily Times he did not believe he was shooting a tame animal.

“You have to be a hunter to know that: sometimes you go into chase mode and make decisions that you later regret,” he said.

The Jehovah’s Witness, who appeared in Dunedin District Court last week, said categorically that the animal he killed was a wild deer which he had followed to several properties, on one of which he was allowed to hunt.

But Teresa Dynes, who was given ‘Dansey’ when she was 3 weeks old in 2016, said there was no way she was able to escape the Ocean View enclosure that she shared with six sheep.

“Dansey thought of me as his mother,” she said.

“When I weaned her…she would come down every night at 7 p.m. and call me and I would say goodnight to her.”

Ms Dynes said days after the doe was shot on November 11, she went looking for it and quickly realized something was wrong.

First she found thick patches of Dansey’s hair, followed by areas of blood, then the grisly discovery of the gut bag and other parts the poacher had left behind.

His children then found the animal’s head.

“[It was] Absolutely awful,” Ms Dynes said.

“It was honestly the worst sight ever. I will never forget that sight.”

Her thoughts immediately turned to Walter, who just seven months earlier had asked her permission to hunt on the property. She had firmly declined his request and said she had told him about Dansey.

Walter denied he knew of the animal’s existence and wondered why he would put it down on the spot if he knew it was so dear to the family.

“If my actions that day caused them any trauma, I apologize,” he said.

How would his actions be viewed in light of his faith? “We are imperfect people,” he said.

Ms Dynes, however, called Walter a ‘monster’ and compared his actions to those of Waitati’s dagger Reg Ozanne.

“To me, she was as important a member of the family as any dog, cat, horse – she was very, very special,” she said.

“Walter is not a ‘hunter’, he is nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer.”

Ms Dynes, a former gun safety reviewer, said if he had missed Dansey the bullet would likely have hit the family home – another suggestion denied by the defendant.

She now worried about what more the man was capable of.

The defendant said he served time in prison many years ago for selling large amounts of cannabis to plainclothes police, and admitted he was not “a little candy-two- shoes,” but assured the family that he wished them no harm.

Since the incident, police had confiscated 30 firearms from Walter’s home and his firearms license had been revoked.

“I can’t even have a fucking air rifle now. I’ve got rabbits running around here. I’m going to have to throw rocks at them,” he said.

Walter, who is currently out on bail, will be sentenced next month and said he hoped for a community sentence as he did not pose a risk to society.

“It wasn’t a dangerous mistake, it was a hunter’s mistake,” he said.

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