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Deer find shelter at FBI shooting range

QUANTICO, Va. -- Call it a playground for Bambi and G-men, where imaginary criminals are hunted and deer are the spectators.

The 547-acre FBI Academy, where some of the nation's best marksmen fire off more than 1 million bullets every month, happens to be one of the safest places for deer during hunting season.

The property on the Marine Corps base here is home to some of the FBI's most elite forces and training programs as well as a de facto wildlife refuge where deer, fox, wild turkeys, groundhogs and vultures roam fearless and free.

The most common furry friends on the sprawling campus some 30 miles outside Washington are the deer, a regular at the shooting ranges, driving courses and physical training trails.

On a December afternoon, deer grazed above one of the academy's 16 practice shooting ranges. They stood just 15 feet away from the paper targets. Nearby, shots popped loudly from a Colt M4 Carbine rifle, and the white-tailed deer did not flinch.

"They're pretty immune to the sound," said Sean Boyle, a firearms instructor at the academy. The deer typically graze on top of the berm, about 15 feet away from the targets and rarely go directly in the line of fire.

Boyle said he doesn't recall an instance where a deer was shot accidentally.

"It's like they think, 'We've pushed the limit for this far, and all our generations have pushed the limit for this far,' " Boyle said. "They're just so docile around here. They don't know what a gun is."

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