Several Bellevue residents in the Meydenbauer Bay neighborhood want to find out who is responsible for shooting and killing a buck with an arrow in recent weeks.
Bellevue resident Jim Downing came home after being gone for a week to find a dead buck in his bushes. An arrow was near the carcass, he said.
Downing lives at the top of Southeast Seventh Street off of 94th Avenue Southeast, near Shoreland Drive, at the edge of a bluff above Lake Washington. In an effort to find out who would shoot a deer, he went to Nextdoor, a private social media site for neighbors.
“We have lived here for 20 years and we see all kinds of wildlife, including deer,” he wrote. “What started out as seeing a single young male has grown to a small ‘herd.’”
Downing’s neighbor’s landscaper called Regional Animal Control Services of King County on Friday, Nov. 10 to report the dead buck, Animal Control confirmed. But there wasn’t much that could be done.
The carcass is still rotting in Downing’s bushes. He and his neighbor have tried to cover it up so it can properly decompose. Downing thinks it landed on his property after running from the shooter, whoever that may be.
“It’s an offensive, awful thing to have happen in one of our neighborhoods to one of our beautiful samples of wildlife of which there are not many left,” Bellevue resident Linda Tonn told the Reporter.
Downing said he knows that not everyone enjoys the wildlife eating their landscaping, but he didn’t realize someone so close to Downtown Bellevue would shoot and kill one of the deer.
“The shooter didn’t appear to intend to scare it off, as the deer was shot with a bow and arrow,” he said.
The city of Bellevue has a projectile ordinance that makes discharge of a weapon – gun, slingshot, bow and arrow – a misdemeanor on any Bellevue land other than private property. The penalty for a gross misdemeanor is up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
Bellevue Police Department spokesman Seth Tyler said they received a call about the deer but no one has yet filed an official police report. If someone did report the shot deer, Tyler said it would be the first in Bellevue during his time with the department.
Downing and at least one other resident did call the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, as poaching is illegal statewide. Deer hunting season is from Oct. 15-30 and then for a short time in November (after the deer was shot).
Sgt. Kim Chandler said he received a report from a neighbor in that area weeks ago about a different deer, one with one set of antlers. The buck had been chasing the man’s wife and landscapers.
“I went up there and said call me and let me know. It’s one thing if a deer is messing up your stuff but when it starts chasing people around, that’s more of a public safety issue, so let me know,” Chandler said. “Never heard anything more from it until this week when I talked to Downing who lives right next door to this guy.”
The shot buck has two sets of antlers, however. And, “unless somebody left their driver’s license” at the scene, it’s incredibly difficult to track down who did this, he added.
“Folks get tired of them eating roses or rhodies [sic] and they decide to take matters into their own hands and get rid of them once and for all,” Chandler said. “And that’s not the answer.”
Chandler said building fences, using deer repellent and other means are the types of things residents should be doing before taking the drastic measure to kill an animal.
And while the approximate 60 outraged neighbors on Nextdoor may not find the answers they’re looking for, Downing has a message for the shooter.
“If anyone knows who is ‘missing’ an arrow, have them message me and I will give them their arrow back and help load the carcass,” Downing wrote,”so they can put it in their yard so that they can enjoy the smell of their action.”