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State Will Let Bonkers Roam Free

July 6, 1987

GRAND ISLE, Vt. (AP) _ Bonkers the deer is free until she causes trouble or presents a danger to passing motorists, Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Steve Wright said Monday.

″For the time being we’ll just let her go,″ Wright said, adding that he didn’t know where the semi-domesticated doe had gone. ″My feeling is if the deer ultimately is going to be protected, it has to be confined. That was unacceptable earlier and I assume it’s still unacceptable. My feeling now is that the deer ought to be left alone.″

Bonkers lost her freedom earlier this year after a jogger complained the doe was bothering her on a run in Shoreham. The deer was taken to a zoo in Putney, but that prompted a public outcry and statew officials moved her to privately owned Savage Island in Lake Champlain.

But she swam away from the island nearly two miles to Grand Isle on Saturday and walked in on Fourth of July volleyball game at Martin and Barbara Irwin’s home on Point Farm Road. Alan Irwin said the deer walked right up to the party-goers, paying no attention to a barking dog.

Wright said the deer’s proximity to the heavily traveled Route 2 may be a threat to safety.

″There’s some concern about the deer’s safety, and on the other hand, a real concern about public safety, because you never know when that deer’s going to walk on the road,″ he said, adding that about 1,000 deer are killed by motorists each year.

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