MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating the circumstances around a buck that was illegally shot in the Menasha area. 

This wasn’t a regular buck, it had become a bit of a local celebrity, especially among regulars at the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

Some called him ‘The King,’ others ‘Mr. Big Stuff,’ or ‘Bruno’, seemingly everybody with a different nickname for the beloved buck.

“I called him David Bowie because of his bow tie, it doesn’t make a lot of sense but it was just the name I went with,” said Angela Leino who frequently comes to Heckrodt Wetland Reserve to take photos.

“I called him the beast because he just came out and was just majestic,” said Andrea Bierbrauer who is a naturalist and the early childhood program manager at Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

The buck gained popularity because of his uniqueness. From the white markings on his neck in the shape of a bow tie to his huge antlers he stands out among the herd.

Many of the deer that hang around Heckrodt are used to humans being around and therefore will approach closely which reserve officials say adds to his charm.

“He was the biggest one at the reserve he came around every year, you could tell it was him every year,” said Leino. “It’s memorable you don’t forget it people would comment on him and even coworkers at work even everybody just knows about him he’s just well known.”

A DNR official told Local Five News that somebody shot the buck illegally just outside the boundaries of the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

The DNR is currently in possession of its carcass and is actively investigating the incident.

On Thursday, the people at Heckrodt are remembering their buck friend saying one of their fondest memories is seeing how little kids reacted when they saw him for the first time.

They said the buck embodied everything that they love about nature.

“I think it’s that the buck reminds us that seeing an animal for the first time is magical, seeing something up close that you don’t typically see is just so special,” said Bierbrauer.

“I know he’s just a deer but honestly it was kind of heartbreaking,” said Leino. “He’s just become a staple of Heckrodt and the fact that he is gone now is just sad.”

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve officials are encouraging people to consider donating to the reserve in memory of the buck. Their website is here.

“What made me love him was that everybody could be like wow that’s cool, people were just awestruck when you see him,” said Bierbrauer.