From: Dick Smith
In case you missed it, on Thursday, November 7, the city of Winona sunk to a monumental low with the massacre of the five remaining deer at the Lefty Hymes Memorial Deer Park at Prairie Island. One huge buck, two adult does and two little fawns were inhumanely shot and killed by Winona city employees following orders from the Winona City Council. The deer were deemed to be an unfounded threat to society, stirred up by a couple of council members who convinced the rest of the council that the dreaded chronic wasting disease was going to kill us all. Pure speculation, but they pushed the panic button and ordered the executions.
To make matters worse, the incident was witnessed by a father and son who came to see the deer one more time. They told a story that could have been out of a horror movie. The father said “It was like warfare. ‘Let’s go get these deer,’ and that was it.” “We went to a bench over by the park and all of a sudden we heard what sounded like gunfire and a bunch of deer were running all over!” Needless to say, the pair were extremely alarmed and distressed.
To make matters even worse for the city, the story was recounted in the Winona Post and the Rochester TV station KTTC, who sent a crew to the park to film the bloody aftermath and then broadcast it on the evening news. Great publicity for this “peaceful, sleepy little river town,” don’t you think? The station contacted the Minnesota Department of Agriculture who stated that they were not at the scene when the deer were put down. The Board of Animal Health said one of the officials came to take samples of the deer for CWD after they were put down. This statement directly contradicts the statement that a Winona official made saying that they were present during the whole fiasco. The witness also confirmed that there were no officials at the scene. Someone is bending the truth here and I think we can figure that one out.
In the bitter end, the city finally got what they wanted and a whole lot more than they bargained for. The park land is now up for grabs and I would bet that we will see a mountain bike course — that seemed to be on the menu — constructed in the spring. Lefty Hymes must be spinning in his grave.