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Whitetail Buck Rescue

THE BACKSTORY: A landowner was building a new house on his property. He had used a trenching machine to put a waterline from the house to the well the previous day. The trenching machine dug a trench 10 inches wide and 7 feet deep and 300 feet long. The house is located in Montana and the water line had to be buried deep because of the sub zero winters. The next morning, the landowner arrived to load up the trenching machine. A carpenter, hired to work on the house, drove down to meet the landowner to go over instructions for the day. While talking, the landowner noticed that his dog Jake was halfway up the hill acting excitedly. He looked closer and saw what he thought was a deer’s head in the trench. He thought a coyote or a neighbor’s dog might have dragged a deer head in from a neighboring property, as hunting season was on. Then the deer head looked at him. The men walked up the steep hill and saw a whitetail deer hanging by its shoulders in the trench. Sometime during the night, the deer had fallen into the trench. The deer’s feet did not reach the bottom. The landowner could see a red mark on one of the deer’s hind legs where it had tried to get out, but rubbed it on rocks in the side of the trench. The deer was not moving any of its legs. It would only move its head. The landowner was concerned that the deer might have also injured its back or was hypothermic. The landowner decided to secure the deer to a nearby tree, remove the deer from the trench, and assess any injuries. The landowner got some rope, a lifting strap and a camera from the house. He filmed the carpenter tie the deer to a small tree, pulling it from the trench. The deer was wedged. He attempted to pull it out up the hill, but the deer weighed 150 lbs and was facing the wrong way to pull uphill. He did the best he could and eventually got the deer out of the trench. As you can see in the video, the deer became very active. The leg was not broken, and if there was hypothermia, it left as the deer warmed up as it safely struggled. When the deer tired, the landowner was able to easily take the deer down, have pictures taken and released the buck. The deer was photographed while feeding the next day and for days afterward on a trail camera. The red mark was on the hind leg where the fur was worn off by rocks in the trench, identifying it. A month later, on Christmas Eve, the deer shed one antler on the farm road by the house. On Christmas morning, he shed the other, only feet from the first one. About Jake: He had been socialized with deer from when he was a pup. While the landowner sprayed weeds, fawns were occasionally discovered and Jake was allowed to sniff them and learn what they were. He learned that deer were not to be chased. As he grew older, Jake learned that deer were part of his domain and he and the deer maintained a truce. Jake would lie on the porch of the house while deer came out to feed in a hay field. The deer would feed to within 50 yards from Jake, and they would each just watch each other. While bird hunting, when a deer was jumped, Jake would run with the deer for about 50 feet before returning to the hunt. 4 years after this video was made, Jake died of cancer and is buried overlooking the site where he found this buck. That would be the only time Jake ever got that close to an adult, live deer.

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