PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. (WREG) — A Panola County family is concerned about the safety of a 2-year-old deer named Elliott who hasn’t been seen for three weeks.
Guy Wilbanks has quite a Noah’s Ark collection of animals on his hobby farm in Panola County.
“We have 20 goats, two turkeys, approximately 60 chickens, and five dogs and a cat and a deer sometimes,” he said.
That “sometimes” deer is Elliott, which Wilbanks describes as a free-range pet.
“He’s not penned up, he’s free to roam and hang out with the other deer,” Wilbanks said.
Elliott was a fawn when he was found abandoned in Hernando and a vet asked Wilbanks to care for the animal in June 2000. Since then, Elliott has grown on an endless supply of love and treats.
“His favorites animal crackers, we give him slices of apple, bread. He’ll eat just about anything, little cookies, cream cookies,” Wilbanks said.
So Elliott became what you would call a regular at the Wilbanks home until three weeks ago. It was not unusual to be gone during mating season, but it’s also deer hunting season and that’s why Elliott sports a fluorescent orange collar.
“It’s cut to where it’s just barely hanging on, in case he snags it, it doesn’t strangle him, and just so hunters know they shouldn’t shoot him,” Wilbanks said.
Aside from the orange collar, the deer’s easy to recognize by his broken antler and that’s how he got the name Elliott.
“From the movie ‘Open Season’ and there was a deer in it that keeps breaking an antler,” Wilbanks said.
Elliott has been seen around Highway 310 near the Longtown Community and Wilbanks worries he’s just as likely to be hit by a vehicle as struck by a hunter’s round.
Elliott’s caregivers have taken to social media to ask folks to be on the lookout for the missing deer. Guy Wilbanks said his Facebook post about Elliott has been shared more than 213 times and he welcomes anyone who’s seen him to let him know as soon as possible.