The Minnesota DNR is investigating a report of a deer getting harassed by a pontoon driver in northwestern Minnesota to the point of exhaustion, dying before making it to shore.
Members of the Tulaby Lake Association found the deer about 300 yards from shore over Labor Day weekend and spoke with another boater who reported confronting the pontoon driver and taking photos of the pontoon after watching the pontoon go back and forth, said association member Dan Peterson. The association members took the deer to shore and called the DNR, Peterson said.
The boater reported that the pontoon stayed between the shore and the deer, a grown buck, he added.
“It’s just a tragic event. From our standpoint, our lake association is in a beautiful wilderness area, wooded area, and our members are all about promoting and preserving and protecting” the area and the wildlife in it, Peterson said. “To have somebody who would do something like this, it’s frustrating and it’s saddening really.”
While the pontoon belongs to someone with property on the lake, about 20 miles west of Itasca State Park, the boat’s driver was believed to be a visitor, Peterson said.
DNR officials confirmed an ongoing investigation, but declined to comment further.
It is against the law to harass animals, DNR public information officer Rich Sprouse confirmed.
“Our advice always to the people of Minnesota is to leave wildlife alone,” Sprouse said.