Almost Bambi

By Anne Muller

At the start of hunting season in the southern region of NYS, a story broke in Rockland County that made national news, thanks to the efforts of Lynn Westbrook. The story was about a mother deer with her fawn. The doe had been speared in the neck by a bow hunter. The deer and her fawn pulled at the heartstrings of the neighborhood. It was actually George Nagle who has had his fingers on the pulse of wildlife mismanagement for many years who contacted C.A.S.H. to see if we could find the woman who broke the story and to ensure that no further harm came to this particular deer. As most of our readers know, the game agency would have loved more than anything to see this deer dead rather than evoking sympathy and more anti-hunting sentiment.

After several days, I was able to track down Lynn. Our e-mail exchange and phone conversations were fast and furious. How do we help this single deer who became Lynn’s friend, the neighborhood’s friend and even Lynn’s cat’s friend? How could we help this deer with an arrow near her face?

Lynn, we discovered, was someone used to pulling strings to get what was needed. I think many of us assume that we can use social skills to stop hunting. We see it as an isolated event, as something that can easily be overcome. We don’t realize the millions of little fibers that form the muscle of the mighty arms of government agencies to keep this nightmare for wild animals alive and well.

We informed Lynn that a Rockland County, NY Legislator was trying to pass a law allowing bow-hunting on County land. He had brought in speakers from Westchester County who said that studies had been done which determined that it was an effective means of keeping the “exploding” population of deer down. This legislator packed the room with the usual arrogant, loud hunters who were chomping at the bit for local hunting opportunity. [C.A.S.H. was there and presented the case against bow hunting in a powerful PowerPoint presentation by Peter Muller.]

Lynn was shocked and disgusted to learn who was behind this push, as she had known this legislator in another capacity.

After Almost Bambi succumbed to the raging infection, Lynn wrote the following to him:

Is it true that you are in favor of expanding bow hunting to county property in Rockland County? Please rethink your position and look at the attachments. This is Almost Bambi, and she died on Saturday. Her yearling is still nudging her to get up. There will be a lot more Almost Bambis with the NYS law allowing 12 year olds to bow hunt. We don’t need them in Rockland.

Lynn also wrote to the United Water CEO, telling him that unskilled hunters were hunting on their property in Rockland, and she sent a photo of Almost Bambi to illustrate her point. She asked that they post their property. [C.A.S.H. has in the past created “No Hunting” posters for some of the larger companies that had huntable land in Rockland and posted for them with permission.]

Simultaneously with the Rockland County push to open county land to bow hunting, we informed Lynn that the NYS Legislature was contemplating lowering the bow-hunting age to 12 from 14 in NYS. Once again, Lynn pulled out all the stops and wrote letters and e-mail to counter bow hunting in her county. These beautiful animals whose lives were God-given are deserving of reverence. How could they be treated as if they were inanimate objects?

Lynn called upon all of her friends in high places to also contact their county and state legislators and Governor Cuomo asking that they not pass this hideous bill.

Almost Bambi survived six months with her injury. Her name is Bambi Deer on Facebook. Lynn watched Almost Bambi gradually weaken over the months. Then the other side of her face began to swell.

Lynn saw the infection progressing daily. Plans were put into place over a period of weeks to tranquilize Almost Bambi and remove the arrow. C.A.S.H. looked into the possibility of delivering antibiotics, but we were told that antibiotics in food would kill the flora in her stomach and she would die of starvation due to an inability to digest her food. Antibiotics had to go directly into her bloodstream.

Tranquilizing Almost Bambi had to be done very carefully as there would not be a second chance if the dart missed. We had to know when Almost Bambi would be there and her hours were becoming more erratic.

Finally the day was set, the time was set, it was a race against time for the quickly deteriorating precious girl who stood tall and proud with this terrible instrument of torture in her neck by her face. Every movement must have been excruciating.

She wasn’t eating much, she wasn’t coming regularly to visit, and a neighbor reported seeing her on her side with her fawn nudging her to get up.

Then, there she was – Lynn wrote: “She came last night I took a video. She was here for more than an hour and half. She ate cracked corn, bread and apples.   I talked to her and she let me pet her for the first time.  She had blood and saliva hanging out of her nose and mouth. The vet said that was good because the infection was draining.  The vet was coming this week to help her. Lynn wrote: This morning my neighbor came over and said Almost Bambi was running in circles and dropped to the ground.  They wanted to call the police to shoot her because she was suffering.  I held them off and called the vet but I got voice mail.  I went to my neighbor’s deck and she was on her side.  My neighbor went over and said she had passed.   Her yearling was wandering around the yard.  I can’t take a photo and I can’t stop crying.  My neighbor put a tarp over her and said the town is picking her up on Monday.  [They would toss her body into a compost heap.] Little Black Cat has her nose pressed against the window waiting for her. They touched noses every night. My heart is broken.”

Please see more of precious Almost Bambi on Facebook: Search Bambi Deer to be her friend. Also see her on Youtube:

On Monday, 5/16, Lynn wrote to some people in high places: Please call 518 474 8390 today and ask the governor to veto S177.  This is the bill allowing 12 year olds to bow hunt.  It takes a second and you only have to give your zip.  I’m doing it to honor Almost Bambi’s memory. Lynn



Anne Muller is editor of the C.A.S.H. COURIER and a VP of C.A.S.H.


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