By Anne Muller
the start of hunting season in the southern region of NYS, a story broke in
Rockland County that made national news, thanks to the efforts of Lynn
Westbrook. The story was about a mother deer with her fawn. The doe had
been speared in the neck by a bow hunter. The deer and her fawn pulled at
the heartstrings of the neighborhood. It was actually George Nagle
who has had his fingers on the pulse of wildlife mismanagement for many
years who contacted C.A.S.H. to see if we could find the woman who broke the
story and to ensure that no further harm came to this particular deer. As
most of our readers know, the game agency would have loved more than
anything to see this deer dead rather than evoking sympathy and more
After several days, I was able to track down Lynn. Our
e-mail exchange and phone conversations were fast and furious. How do we
help this single deer who became Lynn’s friend, the neighborhood’s friend
and even Lynn’s cat’s friend? How could we help this deer with an arrow near
Lynn, we discovered, was someone used to pulling strings
to get what was needed. I think many of us assume that we can use social
skills to stop hunting. We see it as an isolated event, as something that
can easily be overcome. We don’t realize the millions of little fibers that
form the muscle of the mighty arms of government agencies to keep this
nightmare for wild animals alive and well.
We informed Lynn that a Rockland County, NY Legislator
was trying to pass a law allowing bow-hunting on County land. He had brought
in speakers from Westchester County who said that studies had been done
which determined that it was an effective means of keeping the “exploding”
population of deer down. This legislator packed the room with the usual
arrogant, loud hunters who were chomping at the bit for local hunting
opportunity. [C.A.S.H. was there and presented the case against bow hunting
in a powerful PowerPoint presentation by Peter Muller.]
Lynn was shocked and disgusted to learn who was behind
this push, as she had known this legislator in another capacity.
After Almost Bambi succumbed to the raging infection,
Lynn wrote the following to him:
Is it true that you are in favor of expanding bow hunting
to county property in Rockland County? Please rethink your position and look
at the attachments. This is Almost Bambi, and she died on Saturday. Her
yearling is still nudging her to get up. There will be a lot more Almost
Bambis with the NYS law allowing 12 year olds to bow hunt. We don’t need
them in Rockland.
Lynn also wrote to the United Water CEO, telling him that
unskilled hunters were hunting on their property in Rockland, and she sent a
photo of Almost Bambi to illustrate her point. She asked that they post
their property. [C.A.S.H. has in the past created “No Hunting” posters for
some of the larger companies that had huntable land in Rockland and posted
for them with permission.]
Simultaneously with the Rockland County push to open
county land to bow hunting, we informed Lynn that the NYS Legislature was
contemplating lowering the bow-hunting age to 12 from 14 in NYS. Once again,
Lynn pulled out all the stops and wrote letters and e-mail to counter bow
hunting in her county. These beautiful animals whose lives were God-given
are deserving of reverence. How could they be treated as if they were
Lynn called upon all of her friends in high places to
also contact their county and state legislators and Governor Cuomo asking
that they not pass this hideous bill.
Almost Bambi survived six months with her injury. Her
name is Bambi Deer on Facebook. Lynn watched Almost Bambi gradually
weaken over the months. Then the other side of her face began to swell.
Lynn saw the infection progressing daily. Plans were put
into place over a period of weeks to tranquilize Almost Bambi and remove the
arrow. C.A.S.H. looked into the possibility of delivering antibiotics, but
we were told that antibiotics in food would kill the flora in her stomach
and she would die of starvation due to an inability to digest her food.
Antibiotics had to go directly into her bloodstream.
Tranquilizing Almost Bambi had to be done very carefully
as there would not be a second chance if the dart missed. We had to know
when Almost Bambi would be there and her hours were becoming more erratic.
Finally the day was set, the time was set, it was a race
against time for the quickly deteriorating precious girl who stood tall and
proud with this terrible instrument of torture in her neck by her face.
Every movement must have been excruciating.
She wasn’t eating much, she wasn’t coming regularly to
visit, and a neighbor reported seeing her on her side with her fawn nudging
her to get up.
Then, there she was - Lynn wrote: “She came last night I
took a video. She was here for more than an hour and half. She ate cracked
corn, bread and apples. I talked to her and she let me pet her for
the first time. She had blood and saliva hanging out of her nose and
mouth. The vet said that was good because the infection was draining.
The vet was coming this week to help her. Lynn wrote: This morning my
neighbor came over and said Almost Bambi was running in circles and dropped
to the ground. They wanted to call the police to shoot her because she
was suffering. I held them off and called the vet but I got voice
mail. I went to my neighbor’s deck and she was on her side. My
neighbor went over and said she had passed. Her yearling was wandering
around the yard. I can’t take a photo and I can’t stop crying.
My neighbor put a tarp over her and said the town is picking her up on
Monday. [They would toss her body into a compost heap.] Little Black
Cat has her nose pressed against the window waiting for her. They touched
noses every night. My heart is broken.”
Please see more of precious Almost Bambi on Facebook:
Search Bambi Deer to be her friend. Also see her on Youtube:
On Monday, 5/16, Lynn wrote to some people in high
places: Please call 518 474 8390 today and ask the governor to veto S177.
This is the bill allowing 12 year olds to bow hunt. It takes a second
and you only have to give your zip. I’m doing it to honor Almost
Bambi’s memory. Lynn
On Thursday, 5/19 Wildlife Watch wrote: SAD DAY - THE GOV SIGNED THE BILL
INTO LAW - 12 YEAR OLDS CAN BOW AND ARROW HUNT IN NYS!
Anne Muller is editor of the C.A.S.H. COURIER and a VP of C.A.S.H.