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Hunter shoots exotic deer in Minnesota

Axis deer are an exotic species native to India.

A deer hunter in northwestern Minnesota shot what turned out to be an axis deer Sunday.

An exotic species, axis deer are native to India.

Stuart Bensen, conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources in Erskine said he received a call Sunday afternoon from a hunter who'd shot the deer. The animal was a spike buck, Bensen said, and was about 60 percent white with areas of brown down the middle and spots along its sides.

"The buck had 6- to 7-inch spikes but they didn't go straight up," Bensen said. "They kind of went out at a 40-degree angle. It was kind of spooky looking, actually."

According to Bensen, the hunter said he was walking through some grass when the buck stood up and looked at him. The hunter thought it was an albino whitetail buck, at first, but then saw the spots and became concerned and called the conservation officer.

Bensen said he told the hunter not to tag the deer and then arranged to meet the hunter to pick up the buck. The hunter hadn't committed any violations in shooting the deer.

The deer had a metal tag in its ear and had escaped from an area game farm, Bensen said. A representative from the state Board of Animal Health picked up the buck from Bensen on Monday morning and plans were in the works to test the deer for disease.