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Glen Wolters herds a spike buck back to shore Wednesday after it broke through the ice on Two Inlets lake. The deer survived the ordeal. Submitted photo

Deer rescued from icy waters

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Deer season is a sad time for the unlucky.

But one young deer escaped an icy death on Two Inlets Lake Wednesday, assisted by two good Samaritans and a rush of adrenalin.

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Two dogs had chased it onto the lake, said Glen Wolters. His neighbor, Don Wheeler, came over to help.

“We drove down to the deer,” Wolters recalled. “It was 100 yards out on the ice” and had gone through.

“Its head was resting on the ice.”

Ice depths toward shore, where the deer started, were two inches. It was less than an inch thick where it fell through off shore.

Wolters raced back home and got his jon boat. He maneuvered the craft from the lake, onto the ice and near the spike buck, which by now had given up the fight.

“I grabbed his ear and pulled him so he was facing back to the channel,” Wolters said.

Then he prodded the swimming deer back through the channel onto thicker ice, using an oar to keep nudging the animal. He set the buck down on the ice when it was strong enough to hold the panicked deer.

He and Wheeler then donned their waders and approached it from the shoreline.

They heaved until they got the deer back on land. It collapsed on the shore. The animal had a bad leg and Wolters was concerned they’d have to shoot it to put it out of its misery.

“I could see it had a genetic deformity on its front foot, like it was club-footed,” Wolters said. “It was all bloody from him getting up on the ice.”

But the deer made it and lay on shore for nearly an hour, shivering like a wet dog. Then it got up and hobbled off.

Thinking back on the experience, Wolters said, “It was hazardous as hell.”

He was trying to nudge the deer back to shore with an oar, which the animal was locking horns with, sparring with his rescuer all the way back to safe ground.

“It deserves to survive the season,” Wolters said, shaking his head at the recollection of the two-hour mission.

“You know, we had two good deer licenses,” Wolters said. “My wife Susan said if it had walked by us in the woods we probably would have taken him. But after you risk life and limb to go the other way…”

Sarah Smith, Park Rapids Enterprise

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