Game Wardens Over-steps Against Family’s Pet Deer

(Video of the scene located at bottom)


The Mcgaughey family of western Kansas is in outrage after game wardens shoot a deer that had been a part of their family for almost 2 years.

“She was a very much a big pet. There was no reason for her to be killed,” said Mcgaughey. “Her being domesticated was her own doing,” Mcgaughey said. “She chose to stay. I never kept her from going away and being with other deer.”

In the State of Kansas it is illegal to keep deer as a pet.  “In these cases our officers have to decide what options there are. That might be to relocate the animal, release it back into the wild or take it to some kind of rehab facility,” said Mark Rankin, law enforcement assistant director for the wildlife department. “Unfortunately once they’ve become imprinted on people, (euthanasia) is almost always the final outcome. Our officers on the scene felt (shooting the deer) was about their only option.”


Not long after the deer befriended the Mcgaughey family, they had contacted a game warden to explain the situation and to see what they could do. “He told me as long as the deer was not confined, and wasn’t kept in any kind of enclosure, I was fine. Legal,” Mrs Mcgaughey said. The family never restrained the deer or confined it. The deer was free to come and go as it pleased.


My first thought when hearing about this was why were the game wardens called on the Mcgaughey family in the first place. Well, in early December the family was worried about the deer. It had not come around or been seen for a few days, which was not normal. So the family did what any person would do in 2016, they went to social media to ask if anyone had seen her. Rankin, with the wildlife department, said the post led to a complaint being made to his department.


Rankin said game wardens found Kim Mcgaughey at her workplace in Ulysses on the afternoon of Dec. 19 and issued her a ticket for “unlawful possession of wildlife without a permit.” Three game wardens soon met at her house and determined it wouldn’t be safe to capture the deer. They also could not find a veterinarian to tranquilize the animal. Warden Tanner Dixson shot the animal near some trees on the Mcgaugheys’ property, at the edge of the driveway.


Kim Mcgaughey questions the rush, saying the deer was dead within 45 minutes of the game wardens approaching her at work. Taryn Mcgaughey shot video of the three game wardens following the deer around the yard, the driveway and eventually herding it toward where Dixson was waiting.

You can read the full press release HERE