It was impossible to say how long the doe had been stuck, but she was firmly lodged in the trees. The hunters could see that struggling wouldn’t help her as they approached. They saw only one option for the deer, and as she watched them fearfully, the men advanced.
The U.S.’s Pacific Northwest is a melting pot of geography, encompassing plateaus, mountains, coasts, forests and even rainforests. Its woodlands are particularly impressive because of the region’s climate. They grow large, and you can find some of the tallest trees in the world there.
Oregon, situated on the West Coast, is one of the states dominated by these extensive forests. Research reveals that forests make up approximately 60 percent of its land, which has led to a roaring timber trade. In addition, Oregon also boasts an impressive range of fauna.
Among Oregon’s assorted wildlife are game animals such as elk, moose and several species of deer. As a result of this, the state is perfect for passionate outdoorsmen and hunters. That meant potentially bad news for one unfortunate female deer.
The doe became lodged between the trunks of two trees as she explored the forest. The situation left her vulnerable – she might have been found by a hungry bear or pack of wolves. However, it was a group of humans who found her.
A YouTube video reveals that on November 7, 2016, a family spotted something from the road. The upload’s description explains the situation further. “On a drive for a hunting trip, a family in the rig ahead of us stopped abruptly in the road,” the storyteller reveals.
The witness continued, “The dad’s hand was out the window pointing up the hill, just off the road.” It wasn’t the trapped deer – they would spot that later – but a large male of the species. The witness explained, “Everyone but me saw the big buck run off right as we stopped.”
The hunters went off in pursuit of the majestic animal, and that’s when they spotted the deer. The recorded footage shows that the animal had caught its hindquarters in a fork of two trees. The good news is that she was found by responsible hunters.
The group, which includes two men called Caleb and Dana, approach the doe to attempt a rescue. Initially, a pair of the men try to pry the trees far enough apart for the deer to escape. Despite her struggling though, she remains trapped.
After a few seconds of quick thinking, the cameraman decides to try a different tactic. The tree fork actually gets wider higher up. With that in mind, the hunters approach the doe from behind, and hold her flailing hooves still before trying to lift her out.
Even with two men doing the lifting, they struggle to raise the deer high enough. You can hear one person off-camera saying, “She’s almost out.” Then the speaker grabs hold of one of the trees to pull it wider for the doe.
Despite the men trying to soothe the deer with words, she’s clearly distressed by her situation. She expressed this with an alarming sound like a bark or a growl during her struggle. If you’re unfamiliar with deer, this may come as a surprise.
In 2003 the Advances in the Study of Behavior journal revealed that deer actually “speak” to each other frequently. “Deer vocalizations are also notable for their diversity,” it wrote, “ranging from doglike ‘alarm’ barks to high-pitched, whistle-like mating bugles.” The deer in the video definitely sounds alarmed!
Once again, the hunters’ attempts are in vain, so they move on the next plan. One of the men uses a large branch to lever the trees wider. But even with a second hunter pulling on a tree trunk, it’s not enough to grant the doe her freedom.
Meanwhile, Dana retrieves a hatchet to weaken one of the trees. As he approaches, the deer has a burst of panic before settling down. It’s almost like she knows the men are trying to help, but she starts thrashing again when Dana hits the tree with the hatchet.
Although the doe’s struggling continues through Dana’s chopping, the hunter’s aim is true. His hatchet bites into the bark with every swing, and it never once misses the tree. During the operation, another man tries to comfort the frightened deer with a friendly pat on the back.
Eventually, the tree looks like it’s giving a little, so the hunters continue to try to widen the gap. No amount of wiggling, pushing or pulling seems to work, however. Even the full weight of one of the hunters isn’t enough to free the doe.
The rescuers even wrap a chain around the offending tree to pull it more effectively. Finally, after some further chopping, the hunters double their efforts to get the doe to safety… at it works! With a growl of effort, the liberated doe dashes off into the forest.
Social media users applauded the hunters’ efforts; the video uploaded on February 27, 2017, has 117,934 views to date. “Way to go guys,” one person wrote in the comments, “Real heroes.” Another said, “You guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing!”
No one can say why or for how long the tree held the doe captive. One of the hunters has a theory, however. “The deer were in the rut this time of year,” the video’s description reveals, “and we assumed the big buck was pushing her around and got her stuck.”