A young female white-tailed deer stand still in the snow on a winter's day in the forest. Photo Credit: Gunther Fraulob (iStock).

File photo. Photo Credit: Gunther Fraulob (iStock).

A deer that had been given the name 'Copper' by local residents was killed in Herriman, Utah this week after getting media attention for being so docile that adults and children were able to pose with the animal for pictures. The situation highlights a concern that's on the rise around the nation, as urban areas push further into wild swathes of land. The takeaway is simple – residents of these areas must do their part to keep wildlife wild at the risk of leading to a situation that results in an animal being euthanized.

Copper the deer had become a common sight in the area, known for letting passersby pet him and take photos with him. Officials had warned the public prior to the euthanization that if the deer became a regular in the area, it could cause problems.

"We are hoping people don't befriend it [Copper the deer] and it goes up in the foothills, but if people see it, leave it alone. Everyone loves that picture for Facebook or Instagram, but you're really doing that animal a disservice and maybe giving it a death sentence if it becomes too domesticated," said Scott Root of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, as quoted by Salt Lake City's FOX 13.

Concern over disease meant relocation would not be an option, thus the deer would have to be put down should a situation that required officials to capture it arise.

While there doesn't seem to have been a wild encounter that led to Copper's removal, authorities were forced to respond to the situation when one of the local residents complained.

The result was on par with what officials expected – the deer had become too domesticated and was captured and killed as a result. While a deer or other animal may seem friendly, wild animals are unpredictable and can pose a threat to human life.

This situation obviously took place outside of Colorado, but the takeaway message rings true. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a similar policy of euthanizing animals that pose hazards. 

In urban spots like Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Golden, wildlife sightings are very common, especially when it comes to deer. These deer may act friendly, but encouraging human-wildlife interaction can lead to a number of concerns. From increasing the possibility of a dangerous interaction to changing an animal's natural eating habits, there are many reasons to keep wildlife at a distance.

Never feed or pet wildlife, even if it wanders into your backyard. As cute as it might seem to live out a scene from Snow White, your actions could result in the animal getting killed.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(2) comments


I know a person in southwest part of area who doesn't think the deer on her property gets enough to eat!!so they feed them pellets and we think it is wrong, but they do it anyway! One day person was just inside the homestead and big buck (there are several big ones including does) tired to get in and partner was called to come and help get out of building. They were lucky but not smart enough to stop this!


Here we go, yet again, humans encroaching on wild animal territory causing the demise of another beautiful creature. When will the human race wake up and use their so called intelligent mind? Animals were here first, leave them be….so sad. The people that post pictures of themselves near a wild animal should be fined and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Grade school children can be taught to respect the life of all animals and not see them as non-living beings to be exploited. And please, don’t eat them either.


A animal advocate

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