By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
As Jaymie Litzel sees it, the loss of one of her fiancé’s high-end shoes was a small price to pay for sparing an antelope buck from what would have been an agonizing death.
“He got a cool horn accessory out of it,” Litzel told Cowboy State Daily as she recounted how her brother and fiancé freed the buck from its entanglement in a barbed-wire fence.
A video Litzel took of the action includes footage of the buck’s run for the Wyoming border with the shoe stuck on one of its horns.
Spotted Along The Roadside
Litzel, who lives in Edgemont, South Dakota, was traveling back to her parents’ home with her fiancé, Kyle Bachand, on Oct. 14 when they spotted the buck along the roadside. It was flipped over with its legs hopelessly entangled in a barbed wire fence.
The fence is on property owned by her parents, who have a ranch that straddles the Wyoming/South Dakota Border. The entangled buck was on the South Dakota side.
They think the buck might have caught its legs in the fence while attempting to jump over it. Antelope generally prefer to crawl under fences, but will leap over them on occasion.
They knew that the antelope was doomed to die slowly unless they intervened. So, they called Litzel’s brother, Kyle Litzel, asking him to grab a pair of wire cutters and come to them.
No Good Deed …
Jaymie Litzel shot video footage with her cellphone as her brother wielded the wire cutters and her fiancé gently placed his foot on the buck’s horn to keep it from thrashing too much during the rescue operation.
Just as the wires snapped, the newly-freed buck lurched upward, sending Bachand tumbling backward. As the buck sprang up to its feet, its horn caught Barchand’s right shoe and neatly pulled it off his foot.
Bachand was wearing a pair of shoes made by the Justin company, Jaymie Litzel said. She’s not sure how much Bachand paid for them, but they weren’t cheap.
The buck wasted no time running for the border.
“He was freed in South Dakota side, and once he got across that gravel road he was in Wyoming,” she said, describing the scene in the video.
Cut At Your Own Risk
Since the Litzels and Bachand freed the buck on their own family property in South Dakota, they didn’t need to worry about laws pertaining to cutting somebody else’s fence.
However, Wyomingites who come across entangled animals might want to think twice before breaking out the wire cutters.
Damaging or destroying another’s fence in Wyoming is a misdemeanor offense, carrying a maximum penalty of a $100 fine and three months in jail. That’s according to Wyoming statute, which doesn’t list any exception for cutting fences to free wildlife.
No Antelope Were Hurt Making The Video
Barchand wasn’t hurt in the incident, and the buck also apparently escaped serious injury, Jaymie Litzel said.
“We didn’t see any cuts on him. His fur was worn off in a patch on one side, apparently from being on the ground and thrashing around,” she said. “We don’t really know how long he was trapped there before we came along.”
Sadly, Bachand’s shoe wasn’t recovered, she said.
“We had to work cows the next morning, and we saw the buck with the shoe still on his horn,” Jaymie Litzel said. “We didn’t see the shoe after that. So, either the shoe finally fell off the buck’s horn, or he left my parents’ property with it still on.”