Two deer had been stuck on the ice of the Mississippi river near Godfrey, Illinois since December 15. They were approximately 440 yards out and could not be reached easily or safely. So, what to do?
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Godfrey Fire Protection District refused to help, claiming there were not enough officers available and claimed “it was nature taking its course.”
Well, that’s cruel! Even hunters felt doing nothing was wrong. Their solution was to kill the deer to put them out of their misery.
A comment from a local concerned citizen may have saved these deer.
Someone identified as Ashlee called the Riverfront Times to comment about the above cavalier attitude. She said:
“To all of you who choose the easy way out when it comes to situations like this: Get more creative people and do something yourselves. My sister and I made call after call after call for these deer and after calling the news station to tell them I had found a news crew in Norway that had used a helicopter to blow the deer to the shore it seems they took my advice. Hopefully you all will think a little more creatively and HUMANELY next time, though I understand a slow death would have been awful, one must think around (emphasis is mine) death as an option.”
Thanks to a local helicopter company the deer are safe. Pilot, Bill Houska, from Helicopters, Inc. set out Friday morning to save them. He flew close enough to blow the deer to shore.
One of the deer managed to walk onto land. The other one needed a little help from some friends. Todd Thompson and another man skied out on the icy river to help the second deer reach shore by using a rope. Here’s a video of this event.
The first deer jumped over a fence and returned to the woods with what I imagine was a sigh of relief. The second deer had a bit more trouble and required more assistance from rescuers to get over the highway barriers but then gleefully followed his friend into the woods.
A happy ending for the doomed couple!
NOTE: this is not a photo of the rescued deer. Flickr: Carley & Art