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Wildlife trapper called to retrieve deer from Odessa home

After breaking through the front door of an Odessa home, a buck corners himself in a bedroom until he’s sedated.

Marty Hauser | Special to the Times

After breaking through the front door of an Odessa home, a buck corners himself in a bedroom until he’s sedated.

TAMPA — Wildlife trapper Charles Carpenter has rousted animals from odd places.

There was a carnivorous monitor lizard under a family's home back in 1999. He's caught pythons, rattlesnakes and even lemurs that find themselves too close to humankind. And about 2,000 alligators, including one that followed a cat through a screen door two months ago.

But before Saturday, he had never known a deer to crash through a beveled-glass front door and imprison itself inside a million-dollar home.

Carpenter, who works as an agent for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, had just woken when he got the call from Hillsborough County deputies.

The buck had torn through the living and dining rooms of an Odessa home and into a back bedroom, leaving a trail of destruction.

Carpenter found the full-grown deer, a bit bigger than a Great Dane, in a corner. He estimated the buck weighed about 90 pounds and had 8-inch velvet-covered antlers.

He was bleeding.

"The bedroom looked almost like a crime scene because he had pretty much beaten himself up trying to get out," Carpenter said. The injuries were all minor, not life-threatening, he said.

Carpenter sedated the buck with a tranquilizer gun. Later, he released him back into a wooded area.

He suspects the deer could see light through the glass, put its head down and plowed through the heavy door.

"That deer was intent on getting through it," said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway.

Trapper Carpenter grew up in Valrico and says he loves his work.

He has responded to calls involving deer when they've destroyed landscaping or have been hit by vehicles.

Carpenter brought his friend Marty Hauser, an adventure lover who videotaped the capture.

"My heart went out to him," Hauser said of the deer. "It's like having someone throw you in a jungle when you live in a city."

The homeowners, Gregory and Betty Baker, waited outside with a child as Carpenter did his job.

Before he left, he told them what to expect inside. He gave them tips for cleaning up the deer's blood.

Afterward, the Bakers didn't want to talk about the four-legged visitor that roused them from bed at 7 a.m.

"It was a crazy incident that happened," said Betty Baker.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at (813) 226-3431 or

Wildlife trapper called to retrieve deer from Odessa home 06/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 15, 2009 10:51pm]
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