BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Authorities say the poacher who killed a zoo deer named Bucky four years ago has entered the slain deer's head in a weekend hunter's exhibit.
Dennis Campbell, official scorer for the Alabama Deer Hunter's Exhibit at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, said there is 'absolutely no doubt' that a set of antlers brought in Friday belonged to the deer named Bucky, which was killed and dragged from its pen at the Birmingham Zoo in 1983.
'We were hoping that some guy would be dumb enough to bring it in to be scored,' Campbell said.
Campbell said deer antlers are as distinctive as human fingerprints to the discerning eye. He said he was convinced the head was Bucky's after comparing the points, curves and blood vessels on the rack to a picture of the zoo deer.
Bucky, the leader of the zoo's white-tailed deer herd, disappeared from the deer pen on the morning of Nov. 19, 1983. A large hole had been cut into the pen's chain-link fence and pools of blood were found both inside and outside the pen.
A few days later, a headless deer carcass was found in Center Point. Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Carter, the county's animal cruelty officer, circulated pictures of Bucky among area taxidermists in hopes of finding the culprit.
Authorities refused to identify the suspect, saying they wanted to wait for further investigation. Carter said animal cruelty charges and breaking and entering are being considered.
'I hope now to make a case on it,' he said. 'I have been looking for this for four years.'
Campbell said the man claimed to have shot the deer with a bow in Winston County in November 1983.
'I'm so thankful to say the hunters are the ones who found him,' Campbell said. 'When it happened, there was an outcry from the public, but there was a greater outcry from the hunters.'