Erik SkindrudMARIPOSA GAZETTE
A European deer that sparked widespread curiosity off Highway 49 North in recent weeks was apparently euthanized by California Fish and Game on July 22.
"It didn't seem fair," deer watcher Reghina Crump said. "It seems like somebody out there could have taken him. It's just so sad."
On Monday, Mariposa County Game Warden Frank Milazzo arrived at a Mt. Bullion address owned by David Radanovich -- Crump's uncle.
With the driveway gate open, Milazzo drove up to Crump's home and told her he was there to shoot the deer, she told the Gazette.
"I was freaking out," Crump said. "We had named him Powder."
The deer, known as a European fallow deer, showed up looking young and malnourished in May. Crump and family members restored the deer's strength by letting it snack on grapes and fruit trees.
Milazzo did not immediately return a call from the Gazette seeking comment on the incident.
Nicole Fleming, a Mariposa County volunteer with Fresno Wildlife Rescue, said state Fish and Wildlife workers act to protect local deer herds. Exotic species like the European deer can carry lice that weaken the county's deer, she explained.
"He did what he had to do," Fleming said.
Read the Aug. 1 issue of the Mariposa Gazette for more on the passing of Powder, the mystery European fallow deer.