Video: Tangled Buck Freed From Barbed-Wire Fence

A large-racked mule deer is found tangled in a barbed-wire fence. The rescuers act swiftly and safely to free the buck.

Video: Tangled Buck Freed From Barbed-Wire Fence

This ending of this 1-minute Facebook video really surprised me. But first let me set the scene.

It’s clear that a couple people driving a snow-covered county road after dark spot a mule deer buck tangled in a barbed-wire fence. As you’ll see, the snow in the ditch is deep; based on the road conditions, it appears that a snowplow recently cleared the road.

On a few occasions in the upper Midwest I’ve seen whitetails have trouble jumping barbed-wire fences in similar snowy conditions. The problem for road-crossing deer is they expect the snow to be a certain depth as they plan their jump. They stride confidently crossing the road itself, and they know the ditch will have different footing, but they underestimate snow depth, and they fail to clear the fence.

Most often a deer bounces off the fence and doesn’t become tangled. Unfortunately, as seen here, a deer becomes hopelessly tangled.

Pay close attention and you’ll notice that the rescuers on the scene know what they’re doing. They understand that a mule deer, even tangled in a fence, can be dangerous to approach. To avoid injury from the buck’s back legs/hooves, they use a rope to tie the buck’s legs together. This gives them complete control over the tangled buck.

What surprised me most about this video is the buck appears dead, even as the man is untwisting the top two strands of barbed wire. As the buck’s front legs fall from the fence, the animal appears lifeless. Even when the man straightens the buck’s head and pulls the deer a bit in the snow, the muley shows no sign of life.

However, at the 52-second mark, when the couple removes the rope from the buck’s hind legs, the muley jumps to life and runs off down the county road. Amazing.

The tangled buck would have been an easy meal for an opportunistic coyote. Kudos to the rescuers for their efforts.

Click here to check out the video. (Viewing tip: Be sure to turn up the volume to hear the rescuers' comments.)


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