Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Neighbors rally to rescue doe stuck upside down in ditch

Valley Press | July 27, 2022 12:00 AM

Maybe, just maybe, someone thought if you plant a deer upside down it will no doubt grow into a new deer.

Then again, maybe, most 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, this is not something you see every day.

But fortunately for the Rachael and Robyn Largent, it all had a happy ending if not a shaken and confused deer.

The “deer” story began on day last week when the Largents where watching thunderstorms roll across their Plains-area neighborhood. A call from a neighbor asking if they could help him with something broke them out of their thunderstorm viewing. The two and their neighbor, Rick Nickolaus soon noticed something was amiss.

“We were watching the thunderstorms roll by when one of them 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 they came up with was to tie 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 quickly calmed the frightened animal.

With the kicking, barking and squirming under control, the two, now with the help of Jonard Aquino, the owner of the house from 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 no doubt stressed deer out of the trench and laid the animal on its side.

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 okay 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.”


Neighbors Robyn Largent (in tractor), Rick Nickolaus (black shirt) and Jonard Aquino (red shirt) lift a doe from a trench the animal had become trapped in, setting it free seemingly no worse for the wear. (Photo by Rachael Largent)

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