St. Clair man fights to save lives of deer herd at farm

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A St. Clair County man fighting to save the lives of 21 deer.

He's been helping his neighbor care for the herd for years and continued, even after his neighbor passed away.

Now the farm is for sale and the deer are at risk of being put down by the state at the deer farm in Clyde Township.  But the time for the deer time here may be ending soon if these folks can't get some help.

"We need feed," said Mark Covert. "If we can't feed them, the ultimate thing is they will be euthanized."

Covert has helped his neighbor, 58-year-old Brad Whitnah care for the 21 deer at this 10 acre farm for the last seven years.

"I've raised all of these fawns just like that one," Covert said.

Mark Covert says his furry friends are more like family. With Whitnah's sudden death in April, he and Whitnah's brother are visiting from Texas trying to find a way to save his beloved animals.

FOX 2:  "What are you going to do?"

"I don't have any choice," Covert said. "I have to sell it."

Whitnah says the DNR has restrictions on the hobby license his brother had. And they're hoping to move the deer if they can't sell the $250,000 property as a deer farm.

"They’ve got to be tested and categorized," Covert said. "They even take DNA and things like that so it's expensive to do."

Covert says the United Deer Farmers Association has been helping with food but those resources are running low.

"I just don't have the money to feed them anymore," said Reed Whitnah. "I don't."

Covert says food costs about $500 a month and the association tells FOX 2 that testing will cost about $100 per deer, on top of vet fees and a roughly $1,200 DNR permit.

"We're reaching out, if somebody can help or has an idea for us," Covert said.

"Anything would be appreciated," said Covert. "A dollar would help us."

Covert says he'd even care for the deer if someone bought the property. Whitnah holds his favorite photo of his brother outside the home he built, looks around and holds out hope he and Covert's inherited deer family will not be euthanized.

"I just can't stand to even think about doing that."

Anyone who would like to help can donate to a GoFundMe or by email -