The Sad End of Minnie the Pet Deer

Hello Forest County Residents!

When browsing through the old Forest Republican newspaper I noticed the unusual obituary for Minne the deer. The residents of Forest County must have adored this deer because the story took up three columns of the front page, in comparison with the obituaries of human beings in the newspaper only receiving a paragraph.  Minnie the deer resided in the game refuge in Argonne her entire life. The beginning of her life was marked with tragedy. In the very first days of her life her mother was killed by a violating hunter who took her hind quarters. Baby Minnie was found huddled against the remains of her mother by Warden Bert Nixon. Nixon carried the fawn in his backpack over 10 miles and then drove another 20 before he reached the Warden Headquarters. Warden Charles Otto and Walter Sebastian fed Minnie milk every day and she grew into a normal adult deer. Walter became especially attached to Minnie and she eventually took up residence in his cabin and slept with him in his bed. The article goes on to describe several stories of Minnie’s cleverness and bravery. She would evade photographers through her stealth and she once beat up two wolf hounds with her hooves. The article describes in detail all the offspring she had over the years, 16 in total. Minnie met her end when she was nine years old on a foggy July night. A car was parked in the darkness, which she approached because she was used to human beings. The person in the car then shot her in the head and left her body to be found. The murderer was believed to have been charged with hunting out of season and killed Minnie out of retaliation (Forest Republican 2/27/41).


This story reveals several things. There was an active game refuge in Argonne that was run by very dedicated game wardens. There were many violations of hunting laws and it was difficult to catch the perpetrators. Forest County residents have always loved having pet deer as evidenced by the current deer park located next to the Forest County Courthouse.


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