Second deer rescued in past week from netting!

Volunteer rescuers risked serious injury when they went to help a stag caught in the netting discarded from hay bails on Saturday 1st March 2008. A stag somehow managed to get the netting caught in his antlers and as he crossed a barbed wire fence the netting became caught.

This is the second stag which rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) has had to rescue in the past week. The first was at Buxted near Uckfield on Tuesday when a deer’s antlers became caught in discarded netting dumped in a woodland.

Volunteers rescuers Trevor Weeks from Uckfield, Arron Banks from Eastbourne and Tony Neads from Polegate drove to Cowden just outside of East Sussex on Saturday afternoon to rescue the stag today as on other organisation was able to help. "On arrival the deer was jumping backwards and forwards around the barbed wire fence which had collapsed and not been maintained for some time. It was stressed and couldn’t lift its head up very high as it was so badly entangled in the netting and wire" explained Trevor.

Trevor found it difficult to restrain the deer and even received a blow to his leg as he tried to gain control of the deer. "This has to be one of the hardest deer rescues I have encountered. The deer was surrounded by small trees and bushes as well as having the barbed wire fence to deal with. Normally we use a ’walk-towards’ net and go either side and catch the deer, but there just was not the room here to use it. As the deer jumped around, I managed to throw a sleeping bag over its head and as it tripped on the wire I managed to gain control and pin the deer to the floor." said Trevor.

"Once the deer was down I took hold of the rear legs and hips and helped control the deer" said Arron a new WRAS rescuer from Eastbourne," I am amazed at how strong and powerful they are. I also helped with the deer at Buxted earlier in the week and I was surprised how tightly wrapped the netting was round the antlers. It is very difficult trying to cut through the netting whilst trying to control the deer at the same time."

The deer at Buxted on Tuesday took almost 30 minutes to cut free, the stag at Cowden today took only 15 minutes luckily.

"The release can be just as dangerous as the capture if you are not careful, Tony and Arron jumped up and cleared the area taking all our equipment with them leaving me with the deer. You have to plan your escape route and ensure it is not the same route the deer is likely to take", added Trevor.

"When Trevor jumped clear of the deer he uncovered the deers head. As usual the deer sat up and for a moment they wait thinking we are going to attack them or that they are still stuck and can’t get free. After a few second the deer realised it was free and jumped up and ran off into the woods uninjured" said rescuer Tony.

Both rescues have been successful for WRAS which is one of the few wildlife rescue organistions in the region which will deal with deer. "Deer are difficult but require a team of at least 3 people, unfortunately as we are a voluntary charity we don’t always have three suitable rescuers available to attend, but we always try our best and attend when we can" said Trevor.

WRAS is having to take two of its vehicles off the road soon as they need replacing as they are too old and need too much repair work. This will make deer rescues even harder to attend and deal with. WRAS are looking for sponsors and donations to help purchase another veterinary ambulance.

WRAS is calling on farmers to clean up their act and not dump netting in the countryside. "I know some farmers which are very responsible and truly care about the environment but some really are in it for the money and will save every penny they can by dumping netting and other waste on their land. If farmers are supposed to be the guardians of the countryside then these particular farmers are not doing a very good job of it" said Trevor.

Rescuers Trevor, Tim and Arron spent 30 minutes cutting the netting away from around the tree at the Buxted on Tuesday but much more was still left behind.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958 (private).

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