Doh! Neighbors rally to rescue doe stuck upside down in ditch
Neighbors Robyn Largent, left, and Rick Nickolaus work to lift a deer out of a utility trench near their Plains area home. The deer survived confinement and bounded off after the men used a tractor to lift it out of the trench. (Rachael Largent photo)
Valley Press | July 29, 2022 12:00 AM
Maybe, just maybe, someone thought, if you plant a deer upside down it will grow into a new deer.
More likely, a doe that was busy munching on green grass didn’t look up in time to see a narrow trench into which it was about to fall.
Either way, deer legs sticking out of the ground is not an everyday sight.
Fortunately for all involved, the mystery had a happy ending save for a shaken and confused deer.
The deer story began last week when Rachael and Robyn Largent were watching thunderstorms roll across their Plains-area neighborhood. A call from a neighbor asking if they could help him with something interrupted their thunderstorm viewing. A different type of storm was brewing.
“We were watching the thunderstorms roll by when one of [the neighbors] looked over and saw what looked like hooves sticking out of the ground," said Rachel. “When we went and looked closer, the neighbor could see it was a deer that was upside down in a utility trench with just the hooves and lower legs sticking out above the ground."
The two friends tried to lift the animal, which they could see was still alive and squirming, out of the foot-wide trench, but it was too heavy and had wedged itself into the narrow three-foot deep trench.
The deer was just plain stuck.
The first plan the combined group came up with involved tying a rope around the back legs, then move to the front legs and use the rope as leverage to help them pull it free.
That plan was quickly rejected by the deer.
“As soon as Robyn went to tie up the front legs, the deer went wild and starting barking at him,” she said. “Clearly, the deer was still alive, but she did not like what the guys were trying to do.”
Then one of the men thought of using his farm tractor to lift the deer out of its predicament. First, however, they threw a small blanket over “Jane Doe’s” head, a move that calmed the frightened animal.
With the kicking, barking and squirming under control, the two, now with the help of Jonard Aquino, owner of the house for which the utility trench had been dug, hooked the leg ropes over the teeth of the tractor’s forklift attachment.
Slowly, carefully, they lifted the stressed deer out of the trench and laid the animal on its side. Then the men then untied the leg ropes and removed the head blanket.
“At first I thought maybe the deer had died,” said Rachael. “It wasn’t moving and its tongue was hanging out the side of its mouth.”
That lasted only a few seconds until the stunned deer, minus a patch of hide from its side, quickly jumped to her feet and bounded across the grass and off to freedom, seemingly physically OK despite the ordeal.
“We were a bit concerned at first,” Rachael said. “It looked like the missing patch of fur was most likely from the deer struggling to get out the trench, but she didn’t wait around to say thanks.”
More than 1,000 Facebook “likes” later, Rachael said the whole adventure had a very positive outcome.
“We were not really sure how long the deer had been there,” she said. “But judging by the way she ran off she was OK and glad to be free.”