An orphaned deer calf has been raised by two North Devon families after his mother was shot.
Dave the red deer stag has now moved to his new home
in Hartland with farm owner Paul Messenger.
Two years ago, when Dave was barely a week old, his mother was poached on land near Rackenford. Fortunately, he was rescued and started living with Rebecca Gohl on her family farm in Swimbridge.
However, Rebecca had to find a new home for Dave after some neighbours of Dennington Farm complained about the deer.
“We became attached to Dave, he became part of the family,” she said. “He will come when called when he wants to, but he is not like a dog – it’s pot luck.”
After searching for a suitable home for Dave, Rebecca spoke with deer expert and vet Peter Green. He, in turn, got in touch with his friend Paul who agreed to take the deer on.
“Dave thinks he is human,” said Paul. “He has never been penned up in his life, he is free range.”
The deer was taken to Paul’s farm on Monday, where he promptly escaped.
Paul said: “I was frantic with worry. I was up at first light and followed prints for what seemed like hours. A man walking along the coastpath told me he saw a tame deer. I rushed out to Hartland Point car park to find Dave lording it up. Around 25 holidaymakers were adoring him. I was so relieved.”
Paul, who is chairman of the British Deer Society in the South West, added: “I always said I would keep deer one day. A little piece of my life has just come together.”