Wisconsin refutes hoax that lawn ornaments counted in state deer tally

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin wildlife officials have taken to social media to refute a hoax letter that suggested they had mistakenly added deer lawn ornaments to the last two annual statewide deer tallies.

The state's Department of Natural Resources said on Facebook that several residents recently received a letter telling them to remove concrete deer ornaments from their yards by Nov. 1 so they are not counted again this year.

"This letter is a fake. It was not crafted, nor distributed by (the Department of Natural Resources)," the post on Tuesday said.

It was not immediately clear who wrote the letter, which directs residents to "Act NOW!" but the culprit used the department's letterhead and signed it as department's deputy secretary, Kurt Thiede.

Dozens of people responded in jest to the Facebook posting, with one saying: "However, the pink flamingos are another story."

The department said that deer and other lawn ornaments could stay.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler)