Deer are undeniably better equipped for the warmer months. However, nature didn’t leave them defenseless against the harsh conditions of winter. As the days turn cooler, both does and bucks gradually lose their summer coats for a winter one made of thicker, longer hair. Their winter coats are darker as well, allowing them to absorb more sunlight and stay warm. And should they venture through snow, they’re able to stay dry with their water-repellent fur.
That said, all the protections nature provides don’t make danger a non-issue, especially when it comes to ice. Bucks and does alike regularly fall into icy ponds when the frozen surface is too thin for safe travel. Made up of bone and tissue covered by a layer of keratin, the cloven hooves of deer are ideal for travel across most terrain. They not only provide traction but also allow them to walk near-silently through the forest, evading potential predators with ease.
They’re not, however, the best for traversing ice. Deer can easily lose their footing on icy ponds and roads, sometimes getting themselves in dangerous situations in the unintentional ice skating session. So when Colorado Parks and Wildlife came across a buck unable to free himself from an icy ditch, they weren’t at all surprised.
This buck was stuck! Fortunately, CPW came to the rescue.— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) December 6, 2022
A deer is a ditch is a common occurrence in some urban areas and something CPW officer Sarah Watson is trained to handle.
Once sedated and pulled out of the ditch, the buck walked off on its own into better habitat. pic.twitter.com/kfmKLeHwFX
Parks and Wildlife Frees Stranded Colorado Buck
As Colorado Parks and Wildlife explained in the post highlighting the incident, finding a deer in a ditch isn’t uncommon. So much so, in fact, that CPW officer Sarah Watson received training specifically to handle such an event. “Deer walk into these concrete drainage ditches and sometimes they cannot get out, especially in winter,” CPW explained.
After discovering the buck and determining that he wasn’t severely injured, they sedated him. Though sedation is a last-resort measure in rescue missions, the frightened buck could have injured himself further by fighting against those trying to save him.
With the deer safely asleep, they gingerly wrapped a tarp around his body to protect him from the scrape of concrete on the side of the ditch. They then attached cables to the tarp and a truck waiting back on solid ground. While officer Sarah Watson held the buck’s head away from the concrete wall, the truck slowly pulled him to safety.
As the sedation wore off, the buck gathered his strength and left the CPW officers behind, heading for the safety of the woods.