Exhausted — but saved — he runs into the woods

Two men rescue deer from iced-over Megunticook Lake, help it to Lincolnville shore

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 10:45am

    LINCOLNVILLE — A man shoveling snow off the roof of a summer cottage on Megunticook Lake noticed a distressed deer on the middle of the frozen ice Jan. 8, when temperatures hovered in the teens. The deer lay splayed there, unable to to rise onto its legs. But thanks to Dan Ford, of Hope, and Lake Warden Justin Twitchell, of Lincolnville, who dragged him to land, the deer is now back on its feet somewhere in the Lincolnville woods, with a good prospect of survival.

    “With the warmer temperatures coming, and loss of some of the snow, it will make foraging easier to help him regain replacement energy,” said Twitchell.

    Both Twitchell and Ford had made their way across of the nearly-sheer ice to rescue the animal, which was approximately 150 to 200 yards in the middle of the lake. The cottage is on Route 105 near the Hope town line. Across the lake from it lies Fernald’s Neck, the southwest tip of which is Land’s End. In between those two points is an expanse of frozen water, and the two men moved their way out there in sweatshirts and work boots.

    “We were slipping and sliding, and he was kicking and thrashing,” said Twitchell, chuckling about it a day later.

    The account that follows comes courtesy of Twitchell, who reported the incident to the Megunticook Watershed Association:

    THIS MORNING I received a call from Dan Ford (Ford Enterprises, Landscape and Earthwork), who was at the Parker cottage off the Carle Farm Road shoveling off the roof.

    While doing so he observed a strange object out on the ice between the Parker cottage and Land's End. It did not take Dan long to discover that this strange object was a deer laying on the ice.

    Dan watched as this deer tried several times to get on its feet but was unable to do so. Fearing the worst Dan gave me a call. A short time later I responded to the area and made contact with Dan. Dan showed me the deer and we then ventured out on to the slippery ice to try to get a closer look.

    While we were approaching the deer I observed that all four of its legs were spread out on to the ice straight out, away from its body. More often then not this results in a deer splitting its pelvis or even breaking its back trying to get up. I was sure that I would have to dispatch this deer to put it out of its misery.

    We continued to get closer and the deer continued to make every effort possible to try to get back on its feet, this resulted in it taking some hard falls and tumbles. I noticed that the deer did not seem to have any broken bones but was extremely exhausted, for all we knew it could have been out there all night trying to get up.

    After seeing that it had no visible signs of injury I had an idea. After several valiant efforts to get on its feet and away from us the deer had to stop and rest. I took this moment to move and and grab one of its front legs, Dan quickly moved in and secured its other front leg. After a short tug of war match the deer seemed to realize that there was nothing it could do.

    Dan and I then began to drag the deer across the ice to Lands End. The closer to shore we got the more excited the deer became. Staying clear of its kicking rear legs Dan and I were able to reach the shore and get the deer off the ice.

    The young deer lay on shore for a short period of time trying to regain enough strength to get up on its feet. After a while it was able to get on all fours and run away off into the woods.

    I am in hopes that this deer will recover from this energy draining and stressful event and live to enjoy several more years on our watershed.

    Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657