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Deer breaks into North Hall store
Visit caused damage to front door
Ace Hardware employee Hazel DeLong props open the store’s front door, which was damaged by a deer Saturday morning. The deer crashed into the North Hall store, shattering the door’s glass, before escaping out a back door that employees opened for it.

A deer stopped by North Hall Ace Hardware Saturday morning, but it couldn't stay long.

At 10:30 a.m., a male deer burst through the front door, sending shards of glass flying. It ran down an aisle and up stairs into an office before employees could open a back door for it to escape.

"It was pretty exciting around here for awhile," owner Chris DeLong said with a laugh. "Everything was normal. Customers were at the checkout area when the deer exploded through the entrance. The door didn't even slow him down."

The deer lost part of its antlers while running through the door and lost its footing on the waxed tile inside the store before running down an aisle and into the office, DeLong said.

"He was in there for 10-15 seconds and unplugged and knocked over all the equipment, including the video surveillance system," he said. "When he found his way out of the office, we opened the rear door where we bring in freight and he ran outside. It's a miracle nobody was hurt."

DeLong put plywood over the door, cleaned up the glass and reconnected all of the electronics in the office within an hour. Saturday afternoon, employees were sticking to business as usual.

"When I first heard the noise, I thought someone shot the door with a gun," DeLong said. "It's amazing he didn't knock over any merchandise. He stayed right in the aisles."

A floor manager who happened to be watching the front door saw the deer cross U.S. 129 and run directly toward the front of the building.

"With the plywood over the doors, customers have asked what happened today, and we just have to tell the story," DeLong said. "It was pretty scary for a few minutes."

DeLong didn't call Department of Natural Resources officials to the scene to investigate, but there may be a reason why the deer ran through the door, said Melissa Cummings, a spokeswoman from Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division.

"It's possible the deer saw its reflection, especially if it was a male that may have thought it was a challenge," she said. "Male birds will do the same thing in front of glass or a mirror. It may have been claiming the territory."