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[DPRG] Robo Deer

Subject: [DPRG] Robo Deer
From: warm38 at juno.com warm38 at juno.com
Date: Sun Dec 29 06:44:01 CST 2002

----- Forwarded Message -----
>From: James Foster <fosterjames at earthlink.net>
To: SACFLA-TB <sacfla at topica.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 19:19:47 -0600
Subject: sacfla Robo Deer a valuable tool for Florida wildlife commission


 
Robo Deer a valuable tool for Florida wildlife commission
Copyright © 2002 AP Online 
 
E-mail this story 

The Associated Press
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (December 27, 2002 9:34 p.m. EST) - Tales of Rudolph of
red-nose fame, Dasher, Prancer and Santa's other tiny reindeer dominate
at Christmas time, but have you heard of the strangest deer of all? 
He's Robo Deer. The mechanical decoy helps Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission officers nab poachers and deter the illegal
shooting of Rudolph's real-life cousins at night and from vehicles. 
The stories of his exploits have multiplied since 1995 when the agency
began using the devices. Robo Deer follows in the hoof-steps of a couple
of less realistic versions. The first was a cardboard cutout with some
burlap on it. 
"It was worth maybe $2," commission Lt. Stan Kirkland said. "It was
amazing how many people shot at it." 
Next was a deer replica similar to those archers can buy as practice
targets, but it had no moving parts. 
Then came Robo Deer, which can turn its head and twitch its tail. The
stories quickly followed. 
"We had an officer report there was someone in a truck watching the
replica," Kirkland said. "He took a long gaze and then floorboarded his
vehicle. He ran through these pines and oaks, ran over the decoy, and
destroyed it." 
The motorist had to buy the state a replacement. 
Another driver just missed running over it. 
"Then the guy all of the sudden slammed on the brakes, vaults out of the
truck, takes out a big sheath knife, tackles it, and knocks it to the
ground," Kirkland said. "The head rolls off." 
The man got up mumbling about game officers and drove off. No arrest was
made because there's nothing illegal about tackling a deer. 
Another man saw the deer and stopped his truck, got out and crawled on
his belly across a ditch filled with water to within 20 feet. 
"You'd think by now he'd get the message when this thing doesn't run that
it's not real," Kirkland said. "He reaches back into his pocket, whips
out this little pistol you couldn't kill a snake with, and plinks away at
the decoy." 
As the arrests grew, so did the legend. Officers get calls from people
claiming they spotted Robo Deer, much like Elvis, in places he's never
been. 
"A lot of them want to us to know we didn't fool them," Kirkland said.
"Then they want to know how we're able to get him to jump fences. That's
when we just grin and bear it and say 'It's a secret, and we can't
discuss that.'" 


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