Deer Saved by Helicopter

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!

Related Stories:

Goats Rerscued From 60-Foot Tall Perch

Hunters Are Not Environmentalists

10 Year-Old Boys Save Frozen Kitten

NOTE: this is not a photo of the rescued deer.  Flickr: Carley & Art


William C
William C3 months ago


W. C
W. C4 months ago

Thank you.

Stephen Greg
Jason T6 years ago

NOMLPLZ Ramona Thompson

Neanderthals were decent people living naturally. I dislike how people always talk down on them. Please don't compare them to hunters, poachers, or any other manner of thugs.

Read "The Inheritors" by William Golding, a nice little fiction novel about Neanderthals.

Dotti Lydon
Dotti L7 years ago

It is so good to read some good news.

Danuta W.
Danuta W7 years ago


Loretta P.
Loretta P7 years ago

Thank you Ashlee for your persistence and Bill Houska for coming to the rescue. You both made this a happy outcome. God Bless you and anyone else who would not sit still till these deer were rescued.

NOMLPLZ Ramona Thompson
Ramona Thompson7 years ago

Thank God for the person who thought outside of the box (regardless of their gender), and to the people involved in the successful rescue (regardless of their gender).

Hooray also to Norway for the original rescue (regardless of their gender).

Seana is right. Hunters and neanderthals can be men and/or women.

Jeanne B.
Jeanne B7 years ago

I hope they'll get the second deer taken care of so this really works out all the way to the end. This is a touching story and it's very motivational for all of us to go the extra mile to be caring to animals as well as humans.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Good news thanx :-)

Seana F.
Past Member 7 years ago

It was men who used their heliocopter to drive these deer towards safety, it seems it was men who helped the second deer onto the shore and back over a fence, so lets not trot out the same old rhetoric that men can only ever think of killing as a solution, it's an insult to my husband and son and a world full of men who don't think of killing as a solution.

We should look at the positives of this story and not use it as an opportunity to go "man bashing" and that type of comment makes me feel that maybe Care2 should moderate sexist comments on their pages!

Great story with a lovely outcome, helped along by some men!