Trapped deer in dramatic rescue at Hellingly

The stricken deer
The stricken deer

A Sussex animal charity has issued a warning about discarded baler twine after a dramatic deer rescue at Hellingly on Sunday.

The fallow buck, with full palmate antlers, was trapped by baler twine and a barbed wire fence.

It appears the deer caught its antlers on the twine while grazing or passing through a hedge. The twine then became entangled in the wire and, as it struggled to get free, the entanglement became worse.

Volunteers Trevor Weeks, Kathy Martyn and Chris Riddington, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS), went to the aid of the stricken animal.

Trevor said, “The rescue was not an easy one. Although the deer was restricted in how far it could move, the fact that it was in a hedge made our rescue attempts very difficult.

“Our first few attempts to pin the deer to the ground using the walk-to-wards net did not work with the deer managing to get up every time. We just couldn’t get the right angle and coverage of the deer to pin it down.

“We had to take the more risky approach of threading the long net through the fence either side of the deer where we were then able to restrict the deer’s movement. From behind a small tree I was also able to grab on of the back legs safely and pull the deer to the ground. From there I was then able to get the deer’s head covered properly and pin it down. My colleagues Kathy and Chris were then able to start cutting away at the baler twine.”

From start to finish the rescue took 15minutes. “It certainly felt like the rescue was going on and on as we struggled to gain control of the deer,” said Kathy. “The twine was also very difficult to cut being so tightly attached to the antlers. Your heart really races when doing these rescues because you know you are causing stress to the deer and you just want to get it cut free and released safely and as quickly as possible. The poor creature obviously doesn’t realise we are trying to help it.”

Chris said, “Apart from a few minor cuts and grazes, the deer was fit for release, and it was a delight to see it run off across the fields back home safe and sound.

“This really goes to show the dangers of leaving discarded baler twine on the ground, where animals can get it caught round their legs, wings, or with deer round their antlers.”

East Sussex WRAS is asking anyone walking, visiting or working in the countryside to keep an eye out for baler twine and pick up any discarded twine and dispose of it properly and safely.