Monday, December 11, 2017

Maine hunter saves buck trapped in frozen lake, says 'These animals are a gift'

Photo by Justin Wyman
Out of rural Maine comes a heartwarming story about an avid hunter who did the last thing anyone might expect by saving a deer from an untimely death.

Justin Wyman, 28, is a crew leader with the Maine Department of Transportation, but in his down time he loves hunting. "I'm not one of those animal-rights people," he told Dugan Arnett of the Boston Globe.

But late last month, on a drive up rural Route 27, he noticed a dark shape floating in a hole in the ice on Flagstaff Lake. He thought it might be a log, but soon realized it was a deer after pulling over to investigate and talking to a state warden already on the scene. He told the warden, Pat Egan, that he had a boat at his house nearby and asked if Egan wanted to help him rescue the six-point buck. Egan and another warden who had just showed up were all for it. But the rescue would be no walk in the park.

"Rescuing a deer in such difficult conditions would be risky. There were 200 yards of ice no more than 2 inches thick between them and the animal," Arnett reports. "They’d have to break a path and find a way to return the creature to safety without getting into trouble themselves. If they ended up in the water, they wouldn’t last long. And there was no way to be sure the deer would survive in any case."

The story of the buck's rescue is recounted in breathtaking detail in the original story (which you should read), but here's the point: the buck lived, and Wyman says he doesn't think it's strange at all to save an animal he otherwise might have hunted.

"You have to have respect for the animal that could potentially provide for you and your family someday," he told Arnett. "Some people take a lot of things for granted, but those animals are a gift."

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