‘Stressful’ rescue of deer trapped by antlers to barbed wire fence

The fallow buck was frantically struggling to get free
The fallow buck was frantically struggling to get free

Rescuers had a difficult mission when they went to the aid of a trapped deer yesterday (Thursday, August 9).

The fallow buck had some form of nylon netting or baler twine stuck around its antlers which in turn were attached to a barbed wire fence.

It was frantically struggling to get free from the site off Stonehurst Lane, near Hadlow Down.

Two veterinary ambulances from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) with a team of four rescuers and a student attended and using a walk-towards net.

The deer was secured allowing rescuers to start cutting away at the netting. But it was in an awkward position and the location next to the dilapidated fence made it difficult to have full control over the buck.

It continued to struggle and on several occasions tried to kick out during the rescue.

Trevor Weeks, of WRAS, said: “Seeing a deer struggle so much when you are trying to set up and prepare is so difficult because you just want to dive straight in. But you need to assess the situation and prepare the nets to avoid any serious injuries.”

Despite some damage to the antlers, the injuries were not serious and did not warrant bringing the deer into captivity, which would have proven very stressful. So it was agreed the deer be released.

Deer can only be secured and handled in such situations for up to 30 minutes before they run the risk of having a heart attack.

Release proved difficult, too, due to the fence position which the deer had to fight to get over on release and making its way back to the wild.

Trevor added: “This was a really awkward location next to a fallen barbed wire and stock fence meaning I could not gain control of the deer as well as I would have liked. The fence kept getting in the way making it a difficult release as the deer had to fight the fence on release too. All round it was a stressful rescue and release.”