Deer Hunter Saves Buck Trapped in Ice

Simon Veazey
By Simon Veazey
December 5, 2017US News
Deer Hunter Saves Buck Trapped in Ice
A deer silhouetted at sunset bellows near the village of Gorodilovichi, some 300 kilometers north of Minsk, on Oct. 22, 2017. (Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images)

A drowning deer trapped in ice on a lake got help from an unexpected quarter—an avid deer hunter.

Like most keen hunters Justin Wyman usually puts great effort into tracking and shooting deer.

However, last weekend he went out of his way to help one live, hacking his way through two-inch lake ice to rope the trapped buck, and guide it carefully to safety. He even offered the frozen animal a blanket.

Wyman had gone down to Flagstaff Lake in Eustis, Maine on Sunday, Nov. 26 when he spotted what he thought was some debris caught in the ice out on the lake.

“There was a lot of debris floating in the lake so I thought that’s what it was,” Wyman told “When I came back it was in a different place. One of the game wardens was out there so we looked through his binoculars and saw the deer.”

In 10 minutes he had prepared his nearby boat and was ready for launch, helped by two local wardens.

“One of the biggest challenges was getting it in [the water],” he told Bangor Daily News. “The ice was pretty thick right there at the landing, but we pretty much broke our way through with axes and 2x4s and stuff like that.”

Once in the water, it took about 20 minutes to hack a path out to the buck.

“He started to swim away from us. He still had some pep in his step. He was aggravated,” Wyman said. “He was roaring and letting out a bunch of noises, grunting. But after a few tries we got some rope around his antlers and I backed all the way back to the boat landing.”

The deer swam all the way, Wyman said. “We didn’t drag him. He was actually swimming behind the boat.”

Back on the shore, and the Wyman tried to put a blanket on the frozen animal.

“He wanted nothing to do with that,” Wyman said, describing how the animal would lower its horns in defense whenever anyone approached it.

“Once we got him to shore it took us a good half hour to coerce him up over the bank into this resting spot where he could dry off and nap,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

The deer laid down for a while to recover.

“His eyes were red and bloodshot and his ears were purple in the water but then all his color came back and he seemed fine,” Wyman told Inside Edition.

Once recovered, the animal got to its feet and ran off.

“It feels good seeing people come together and care for Maine’s wildlife, the warden service may get paid to do it but they do it because of their love of the woods and wildlife and would do the same thing even if they weren’t,” Wyman said on Facebook.

He admits it might have been a different story if the same deer that he first spotted through binoculars out on the lake had strayed into his crosshairs in the woods.

“If an animal’s got a fighting chance and there’s something I can do to help make that chance a little bit better, I’m all for it,” Wyman told Bangor Daily. “Had it been a day earlier and had he been walking in the woods, he’d have been a good candidate. But you kind of have to have that kind of respect for the creature we chase along through the woods.”

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