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Deer's presence causing increased traffic near club

February 28, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

No members of the Potomac Fish and Game Club have seen Bucky the deer grazing in the fields of the famous deer's new outdoor haven near Williamsport since his release at the club last week, club president Bill Sonnik said.

And as far as Sonnik is concerned, the deer, who received nationwide attention last week after taking up residence at a Hagerstown home, can remain camouflaged at the now-dormant hunting grounds.

"He looks like every other deer. We don't have any way of (tracking Bucky)," Sonnik said. "Truthfully, he could be in West Virginia by now."

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Sonnik doesn't like the attention the club is receiving for Bucky. People drive slowly around the 450-acre club, hoping to catch a glimpse of the deer, all the while running the risk that they'll hit another deer, or worse yet, Bucky, Sonnik said.

"People hit deer all the time right outside the game club," Sonnik said.

And despite a $200 contribution from Godlove's Liquors to plant clover for deer grazing fields at the club, Sonnik said not much good has come from Bucky.

"I don't know how we've gotten any benefit out of it," he said.

The club has been in business for 68 years, Sonnik said. Hunting may or may not resume next fall, Sonnik said, because it's a determination based on the size and health of the herd as hunting season approaches.

Recently, the deer population has been looking fairly strong and healthy, he said, so the introduction of Bucky, who Department of Natural Resources officials fear carries a fatal neurological disease, is worrisome.

"It is a concern, but where he is or what he's doing now, we just don't know," he said.

Sonnik said there's no guarantee come next hunting season that Bucky, along with any of the other approximately 100 deer there, will bear a target on his beloved hide.

"He would be just one of the deer that would be able to be hunted if we have hunting next year," Sonnik said.

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