A fallow buck with its antlers entangled in electric fencing has been successful rescued and released just outside of Uckfield this afternoon (1st September 2023).
A walker alerted a local resident at Palehouse Common of the situation, which was in a field between Palehouse Common and Framfield. The local resident informed East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS). “The precise location of the deer was rather unclear as the report was second hand, so I was sent to investigate further whilst a specialist deer rescue team was put on standby” said Trevor Weeks MBE Founder & Operations Director of East Sussex WRAS.
Trevor was able to find the deer by walking the public footpath and spotted the male melanistic fallow deer a couple of fields away from Palehouse Common Road.
East Sussex WRAS has several staff and volunteers training in dealing with such entanglement and releasing them safety. “This was difficult and dangerous rescue as they all are, but luckily this one ended up being fairly textbook,” said Trevor.
A team of 4 specialist rescuers and a trainee joined Trevor who kept out of sight of the deer till they were ready to proceed with the rescue. Once briefed and prepared the team proceeded to the field where the deer was located, and the rescue plan put into action. Trevor encouraged the deer into a suitable location where a walk-to-wards net was then used by rescuers Daryl Farmer and Thea Taylor to gain control of the deer allowing Trevor to jump on the shoulders and for rescuers Keith Ring and Daryl Farmer to grab the rear legs and secure them.
This allowed rescuers to start cutting the electric rope from around the deer’s antlers. “I think our hearts are beating as fast the deer at this point. There was quite a bit of rope and you have to cut it strand by strand and as it has metal inside its not always easy to cut, it doesn’t feel like you are getting anywhere then suddenly strands start falling away” explained rescuer Ellie Langridge, “ it is also that time of year when deer scratch off the velvet skin covering on their antlers so there was also a lot of flies buzzing around which didn’t help.”
“Although this was not the biggest of deer, it was fisty and fit and did not like being restrained. It took Trevor on the deer’s shoulders and Daryl and I holding the rear legs to keep control of the deer whilst Ellie and Abbie started cutting away the electric rope from around the antlers. Thea helped clear away our rescue net, strands of line as well as helped keep the deer’s head covered” explained Senior Rescuer Keith Ring.
It took the well-trained rescuers only 5 minutes to secure, cut free and release the deer safely. “Once restrained deer need to be released as quickly as possible to avoid capture myopathy and stress causing internal trauma. It is a big killer of deer. Some will die days or weeks later because of the trauma suffered, which is why these rescues need to be dealt with in the correct way. Even people hanging around watching the deer whilst waiting for rescuers to attend will add to the stress and trauma the deer suffers” explained Trevor.
“I would urge anyone who comes across such a deer to stop before rushing in and attempting a rescue. Back off, keep out of sight and ear shot of the deer so that it rests as much as possible and doesn’t continue to panic. Call a rescue organisation for help and keep people away. This will ensure the rescue is efficient and as swiftly dealt with as possible,” said Trevor.
East Sussex WRAS is a community charity funded by generous donation. Please help support their work helping to prevent the suffering of around 5000 wildlife casualties every year. Please donate online at wildlifeambulance.org or call 01825-873003.
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