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Central Oregonians Raise Money To Memorialize Beloved Deer 'Buck Norris'

<p>Central Oregonians are raising money to memorialize Buck Norris, a mule deer that spent its life in the city of Bend.</p>

Courtesy of Jeff Dixson

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Central Oregonians are raising money to memorialize Buck Norris, a mule deer that spent its life in the city of Bend.

Following the untimely death of the widely photographed and loved mule deer known as "Buck Norris," a group is hoping to raise enough money to build a memorial in honor of Central Oregon's unofficial mascot.

"He fearlessly roamed the roads and yards around town and made friends across the region," wrote the campaign's creator Cari Lampshire on the GoFundMe page. "Let's give Buck the memorial he deserves for bringing so many of us so much joy and awe over the years."

The deer was known by a few different names, including Nosler Buck and Sleepy Bend Buck, but it was most famously known as Buck Norris, a play on the American martial artist and actor Chuck Norris' name.

Jason Dixson of the Buck Norris Facebook page said a bronze statue of the deer would fit with other bronze artwork around Bend. Dixson collected has a set of antlers shed by the animal in the past few years, and hopes to cast them for an accurate reproduction.

The deer was struck by a vehicle Friday morning, and its carcass was found off Highway 97 in Bend by road crews.

"Unfortunately, vehicle-wildlife collisions happen throughout Oregon and are more common around high density areas and in the Bend/central Oregon area in particular," said ODFW spokesperson Michelle Dennehy in a statement. "While Buck Norris' habit of staying within Bend city limits helped protect him to an older age, it finally put him at risk."

ODFW estimated that Buck Norris was between 9 and 10 years old, and the deer's large, unusual antlers made it a favorite for local photographers.

Buck Norris had shed its antlers before the collision, but officials were able to confirm the deer's identity from its ear tag.

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Lizzy Duffy