Whether it was a high school grad prank gone wrong, some type of Internet-fame-seeking attempt, or a stunt with malicious intent, residents of Magrath are left wondering why a dead deer was tied and posed on a bench along its busiest street late last week.
Loreen Beauchamp, who lives south of town, was on her way home from work just past 11 p.m. last Thursday when she found the carcass outside Rooster’s Country Marketplace on 1st Street South.
“We were on a shift change and a co-worker had thought she had seen what was a deer, but she didn’t stop,” Beauchamp said.
“When I left, I drove up there and at first I thought it was just a deer on the bench. Then as I got closer, you could see the feet were taped and the jaws were taped together. It was laying on its back and all four feet were in the air. Somebody placed it there.”
There was also a blue airhorn in its mouth, Beauchamp said. She called the RCMP and took a photo to email the Raymond/Magrath detachment.
The deer had been removed by early Friday morning, even before Rooster’s store owner Jay Mackenzie arrived to open for the day.
“A few customers told me about it. It’s pretty sick,” Mackenzie said.
“I don’t think it was a grad prank, nor do I think it was a rivalry prank with the rivalry between us and Raymond and Cardston, especially in sports. I think it was maybe kids out doing something stupid . . . nobody is laughing.”
Lyle Lester, an Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer based in Magrath, said the incident was reported to RCMP but not to Fish and Wildlife.
“When I spoke to the RCMP, they really couldn’t provide me with much of their information,” Lester said.
“There are a lot of deer hit around here,” Beauchamp said. “You do see them laying in the ditch and stuff, but not on a bench all taped up. We don’t know if it was dead and someone picked it up or if somebody did something to it. We haven’t heard.”
No less than 10 minutes away, a couple weeks ago a similar situation was happened upon at the Raymond Elementary School playground, where a coyote carcass was found.
“(My son Joseph) happened to look out his bedroom window and saw a truck stopped over by the school, someone took something from out of the back of the truck . . . it wasn’t until the next day that we found out, one of the teachers from the school came over and asked if we saw anything,” said Raymond resident Rita Hardy, who lives just across the street from the playground.
“There are kids that come to the school in the evening, so it’s not unusual to see vehicles in front of the school, but this truck stopped along the side of the road and got out and took something from the back of his truck.”
Hardy went on to say her best guess is that the suspect is in his late-teens to early-twenties, and that being a life-long resident of Raymond, this is the first time she has seen anything like this.
“It seems like a prank kind of thing, but it’s kind of a sick thing. Why would you do that to little children, for them to come upon this dead thing,” she said. “Police patrol around here all times of day, they always have.”
Although the investigation into this matter remains ongoing, Sgt. Kelly McCoy said no foul play is suspected with the deer, it appears to have been the victim of a vehicle strike, rather than an illegal hunt.
“Someone decided to play a sick joke on the bench in front of Rooster’s,” said McCoy of the Magrath incident.
If you have any information regarding this incident, or others like it please contact the Raymond RCMP detachment at 403-752-4747.