Earlier this week, an unidentified person posing as a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary distributed a letter commanding Wisconsin residents to remove all ornamental lawn deer from their property by Nov. 1.
The letter, employing the official DNR masthead, claims that the concrete deer have possibly interfered with past Wisconsin deer counts and so removal would ensure that they do not in the future.
“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be conducting a state-wide deer count and some yard ornaments may have been counted over the past two years by mistake,” the letter said.
A forged signature at the bottom of the letter includes a misspelling of DNR secretary Kurt Thiede’s last name. While the typo could serve as a red flag for illegitimacy, failing to closely read it may enable someone to fall for the hoax.
According to Jim Dick, DNR spokesperson, the organization did, in fact, have nothing to do with the letter, and were only made aware of it thanks to an anonymous messenger.
“About the only thing we can do is confirm that, yes, that was a hoax, and that the DNR is not asking people to remove their concrete ornaments,” Dick said.
Dick said that as the hoax progressed and spread, people began to flood to the official DNR Facebook page, both to inform the department and to see if they had discovered the identity of the hoaxster. As of now, the source of the letter is still unknown.
The DNR also took to their Facebook page to quell rumors. The DNR posted a picture of the false letter with a caption discrediting it and reassuring Wisconsin residents that they may still decorate their lawns with any concrete fauna they desire.
The comment section lit up shortly afterward. Many responders were quick to make light of the already amusing situation, with many Wisconsinites poking fun at the hoaxster, those who went along with it and the DNR itself.
“Anyone who contacted the WDNR thinking this was real, please move to Illinois,” one commenter said.
The DNR has not announced any effort to track down the perpetrator, and Badger State lawns remain free to hold any decoration their owners wish, concrete or otherwise.