Associated Humane Societies
& Popcorn Park

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chief the whitetail deer came to popcorn park...

In 2003, when we received a call from NJ Fish & Wildlife regarding information they had about a year-old buck that someone had in a very small pen in their backyard. The people who had the deer said they had found him as a fawn the prior spring. F&W asked if we could take him on at Popcorn Park. That was a yes.  We went up and sedated him, and transported "Chief" to Popcorn Park to live his life.

To know Chief was to love him...

Chief made many friends over the years from all of the caretakers he had, to all of the staff that would bring him goodies from the fruit and vegetable walk-in refrigerator that's located right across from his yard.  And let's not forget all the volunteer dog walkers that would walk by him (he didn't mind the dogs) and bring him treats. Everyone knew and loved Chief.

Chief the Whitetail Buck in full antlers

Caring for Chief...

Every year around September, he would get a little feisty and would rub off the velvet on his antlers to show off his new beautiful rack. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks he would want to start jousting with his caretakers (not a good thing for staff!) and Chief would always win. When he started to want to show us he was in charge, that meant we would have to sedate him and remove his antlers. So Chief would act big and bold until he saw our manager or veterinarians walking from the barn with the blow pipe (for sedation) in hand. Once he spotted them, he would go to the furthest corner of his pen and make himself as small as possible. He always made it so hard to dart him. We eventually built a blind so we could hide and dart him when he didn’t see us. After Chief was fast asleep, we could safely remove his antlers. Antlered deer grow new ones every year, so don't worry, the only thing that hurt was Chief's pride for a couple of days.

Chief a whitetail deer with rooster friend resting at Popcorn Park Lacey NJ

Relaxing with a friend

Chief grazing in sunny Lacey Township NJ

Grazing in the sunshine

After almost 17 years, we had to say goodbye to Chief. He passed away quietly in his sleep. We miss him terribly. Where his enclosure was situated, he was the first resident we said good morning to coming to work every day and the last one we said goodnight to on our way home. Goodnight Chief...

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