Topeka — Motorists always are complaining to Lloyd Fox about hitting deer on the state's roads.
But Fox, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks big game program coordinator, now has his own story to tell.
Fox was one of six state wildlife officials returning from a trip to Idaho when their plane hit a deer Thursday night at Topeka's Billard Airport.
"It was definitely an interesting landing," said Fox.
Pilot Robert Ahrens wasn't surprised by the collision.
"It's down by the river with lots of trees, corn and soybeans," Ahrens said. "You get that kind of habitat and all that candy sitting out there. ... It's still ironic that Wildlife and Parks hits a deer."
Ahrens said he was bringing the Cessna 421 in when a buck ran in front of the airplane. A second deer suddenly appeared, and Ahrens felt the impact.
The plane had only minimal damage to one flap and returned to Pratt that night.
"If it had been about a foot or two closer to the fuselage, it probably would have wiped out a landing gear. ... That could have been over $100,000 worth of damage," Ahrens said.
The deer apparently wasn't too badly hurt. Ahrens said only a slight smear of blood was found on the crinkled flap. Those on the plane looked that night for the deer but couldn't find it; airport personnel also found nothing the next morning.