Helicopter Rescues Deer On Ice

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The concern of a retired wildlife service officer and the deft hands (and feet) of a wildlife service pilot led to the happy reunion of a mother deer and fawn beside a frozen Canadian bay in early February. Former biologist Ian Waugh was at his home on Antigonish Harbour in Nova Scotia when he spotted the deer on the glassy ice. The mother had fallen and was unable to get up as her nervous offspring appeared to be trying to help. Waugh knew the ice was too thin for a personal rescue attempt so he called his former employer, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, and grabbed his video camera. Helicopter pilot David Farrell was dispatched and knew from a previous rescue he could use rotor wash to push the deer to safety. Waugh, who kept his camera rolling, was surprised. “I was waiting for a dart gun to come out, a tranquilizer gun to come out,” Waugh told CTV News.

Farrell told the TV network that he knew the conditions were right for the rescue. “As long as you can keep that deer moving along the ice, it tends to calm down,” he said. “I don’t know if it understands we’re trying to help or, I don’t know what’s going through its mind, but it works good.” Once at the shore, two men literally pulled the deer by the ears onto the snow-covered ground. After stumbling a few times on its still-unsteady legs, the mother went into the forest and was later spotted with the fawn.