Shrouded in mystery, Minnesota officials are looking for the person or persons who placed large red ear tags on a 10-point buck that read “Don’t Miss.”

The deer was shot a week ago in the Lanesboro area by a licensed hunter inside the state’s special disease management zone for chronic wasting disease. Over the course of the past 12 months, 16 deer harvested inside the area have tested positive for the deadly disease, the state’s largest outbreak in history.

No Joke

In what appears to be the result of a practical joke, the capture of wild deer and or release of captive deer is illegal in the state of Minnesota. As state agencies and hunting organizations continue to battle the deadly disease, the capture or release of a captive deer in a CWD management zone is no laughing matter. While laying claim to shooting a deer with such interesting bling is an affable story in itself, knowing that additional deer could be infected is not. A sentiment echoed by wildlife researcher Lou Cornicelli of the Minnesota DNR.

“An individual intentionally releasing deer is a potential source of the infection,” Cornicelli told the Star Tribune.

The Hunter and The Deer

The 10-point buck was between three and four years old and shot by a young hunter, whose name was not released by the DNR. According to preliminary reports, the deer was in good physical condition.

The deer had been recorded on trail cameras in the area for well over a year wearing the red tags on each ear. Becoming an animal of interest due to the tagging, it was not until the animal was finally harvested that anyone was able to make out the scratch that read “Don’t” on one ear and “Miss” on the other.

Tissue samples were taken from the animal and sent for genetic and CWD testing.

Information can be reported anonymously by calling the Minnesota Turn in Poachers hotline at 1-800-652-9093.