Early Thursday morning our wildlife team received a call about an adult deer stuck to a fence. Officer Schwartz from the Sleepy Hollow Police Department was on the scene!
Our wildlife team sprang into action and gathered supplies. This included a laundry list of items, such as a drywall saw, a pocket knife, lopers, edge cutters, tinsnips, and wire cutters. Having past experience with freeing a muskrat from a fence, the team also made sure to grab some bolt cutters as well! With guidance from a veterinarian, they added sedation medication and a pole syringe to their kit just to be safe! Ideally, our team would have a blow dart or a dart gun. However, those can be pricey so we work with what we have!
The deer was bucking up, down, and around in circles when the team arrived on scene. Soon, it was made clear that he wasn’t stuck in the fence. Instead, his antlers were stuck in a rope! Our team’s first thought was to get close enough to cut the rope, letting him run free with the rope still attached. Deer shed their antlers yearly between December and March, so he was due to shed them any day.
However, they realized that it would be impossible to get to the rope without being kicked by the deer. For the safety of everyone (the deer included), our team decided to sedate. One team member used a large plastic board to help protect against his thrashing hooves while the other staff member cautiously went in with a low dose of sedative. It was not an easy task, but our resilient staff was able to safely sedate him!
After about 15 minutes, our deer was calm, but still awake. As our team began to cut at the rope, they discovered the netting was tightly woven and covered in sticks and additional debris. This made it nearly impossible to cut through with the deer still awake. In order to work closely on the rope, the deer would have to be further sedated.
Again, the team administered a larger dose that was still within the recommended limit. Within minutes, the deer laid down. He was never fully asleep and always had some level of reactivity. After confirming he was healthy with a quick check to the gums, the team got to work. After working on the rope with a combination of wire cutters and a box cutter, our team came to the conclusion that something stronger was needed. The rope, which was woven tightly, was acting like concrete. Nothing on hand was seeming to free it.
After calling for reinforcements, they were able to get a saw. They applied firm pressure and began sawing, then the rope began to loosen! Once the rope was loose, the wire cutters worked like a charm.
Once his antlers were free of debris, our team cleared the surrounding area. Then they injected him with a reversal medication and within a few minutes, he stood up. He walked away slowly, and then trotted into a field across the street, happy to finally be free! The entire rescue took approximately 3 hours.
Wildlife Allies typically charge for services in order to cover staff time, materials, and travel expenses. Between gas, medication, and staff power, it would’ve cost $350. However, because this deer was in dire need and our in-house patient load is low, we were able to do this rescue pro-bono. Our ultimate goal was to save his life, so we accomplished our main mission! We would love to help with rescues like this in the future, but we need your help. Anderson Humane relies solely on donations to operate, and would appreciate any monetary donations to cover the cost of this rescue, and any rescues in the future!