A 23-year-old Potterville man was arrested after he was seen on video repeatedly striking a deer in the head with a hammer until the buck succumbed to its injuries.
He was recorded near Doane Highway and North Hartel Road, in Eaton County.
Conservation Officer Todd Thorn was told about the video around 10 p.m. Wednesday by one of his relatives. An hour later, Thorn, who patrols Ingham County, tracked the suspect to a friend’s house, located on Doane Highway, where the man fully confessed to the crime and surrendered the partially butchered deer and severed head.
The Potterville man claimed that he was on his way home when he came across a buck, apparently disoriented from a recent car-deer accident, and decided to put the deer out its misery.
The video starts with the deer standing upright in the middle of the road, blinded by vehicle headlights. DNR officials say words of encouragement and laughter can be heard throughout the video, which lasts less than a minute.
The Potterville man told Thorn that he and the witnesses loaded the carcass for transport and passed police as they were leaving the scene.
“I didn’t want to get the police involved,” the man told Thorn.