READ ALSO. Red deer takes a night walk in the center of Kalmthout: “Animal escaped somewhere”
The transit of the red deer causes commotion in Kalmthout. At the beginning of this week, a girl made the conscious video of the red deer that paraded through the center at its leisure. “It was in the middle of the track, our car walked past and then continued on the track again,” says de Kalmthoutse. She now heard testimonies about how the animal was allegedly euthanized in a fenced horse pasture on Wednesday evening and wants the truth to come out. “Without blaming anyone, because maybe the deer is still alive,” she emphasizes. “The fact is that it has not been spotted since Wednesday evening.”
According to a lady who is in contact with the hunting environment, the red deer would have been hiding on Wednesday in a corn field at Noordeind, the track between Wildert and Kalmthout. “But when the corn was driven off, farmers herded it into a horse pasture, where the red deer stood quietly by those horses and could have easily been shot with a tranquilizer gun. In contrast, a hunter was called in. A woman who wanted to go and see the deer with her child was led away. Just let four bangs resound. The police have also been on the scene. The shooting happened between 8pm and 8.30pm.”
Danny De Clerck, the hunter who has the hunting rights, strongly denies the story. “I did indeed stand right next to that deer in the meadow. But everything else is fake news. I heard those four bangs too. I phoned the hunting rights holder who has the hunting rights of the area where the bangs resounded. But actually it was already clear then that it was not about gunshots but about firecrackers or bombs, presumably from a party. The police have also come. They quietly waited here with two combinations until it got dark, but the beast started walking again on its own.”
The spokesman for the Grens police zone also says that he is not aware of a shooting of the red deer and that the police have certainly not called for this. “All we did when the red deer suddenly showed up in Kalmthout was to find the owner and contacted him to ask if he wanted to come and get his animal.”
The owner is Herman Matthijsen from Brecht, who keeps about fifty deer as a hobby. On Monday, some deer escaped from his pasture. “It is now deer rut, so the male deer want to look for females. During that period they are more rambunctious, with the result that a few have gone through the wire. The distance Brecht-Kalmthout is nothing for a red deer. They usually come back on their own. Also this time a few deer were back on the wire that same evening and yesterday a deer returned spontaneously. It may even be the Kalmthouts deer.”
Herman heard nothing about a shot of his deer. “I honestly don’t believe that. I think it has already returned on its own.”
Hunter De Clerck also thinks this is possible. “Deer leave scent trails. If they go through the Groot and the Klein Schietveld, they can walk back to Brecht unnoticed.”
Police had not contacted a vet with a stun gun after the red deer was first spotted. The owner had let it be known that his deer knows him and that he would lure him back home with feed if he was spotted somewhere.
Case closed? Not apparently, because the lady with connections in hunting circles claims that photos of the deer carcass are circulating in the hunters’ whatsapp group. “I’m going to do everything I can to get it.”
The question remains whether it would be illegal to shoot the 300 kg red deer, in the context of public safety. Whoever bumps into such a deer with the car at night may not be able to retell it.
The deer history of Kalmthout is reminiscent of the story of the she-wolf Naya, who wildlife enthusiasts claimed was shot by a hunter and whose photos also circulated in whatsapp groups of hunters. Those pictures never came up. In the investigation into the death of wolf Naya, an investigating judge was appointed and 30,000 euros for the golden tip. That will not be the case here, because a tame red deer is not a protected wild wolf.