When Alan Adams saw a large buck deer had broken through the ice on the Green River on Sunday afternoon, he immediately started calling for emergency services to help the animal.
Adams, a Wyoming state fire marshal, said he was cleaning the ice and snow off his back deck that overlooks the Green River near Expedition Island when he saw something move in the water.
“I went and got my binoculars and realized it was a deer,” he said. “He had his back in the water looking straight up at the sky. At first, I didn’t know if he was dead, but then I saw him move and I knew he was stuck.
“I couldn’t live with myself if I let him stay there and suffer like that.”
Initially, an agent from the Wyoming Fish and Game Department met Adams at the river. The two quickly realized the bank was too steep for them to rescue the animal alone, Adams said. They called the Green River Volunteer Fire Department at 4:10 p.m.
The fire department arrived on the scene shortly after with their swift water rescue gear, including a Nebulus Emergency Flotation Device they used to retrieve what officials said was a large buck.
“That’s the biggest buck I’ve ever gotten,” quipped Larry Erdmann, Green River assistant fire chief. “It was a 4x5 with about a 24-inch spread. It was pretty big.”
‘He Was Tuckered Out’
The animal was pulled from the river and moved to Evers Park, where Game and Fish and first responders from Castle Rock Ambulance went to work bringing his body temperature up. Erdmann said the team used IV fluid and heat packs to warm up the animal’s legs and spread a blanket over his body.
“He was tuckered out. He didn’t even fight us or try to get up and run when we were taking care of him,” Erdmann said. “We had to get the blood flowing by rubbing his legs.”
After a few hours of being cared for on the shoreline, the crew left and the buck returned to the wild.
Adams said he was surprised that the deer didn’t have hypothermia.
“He hadn’t been out there overnight, but long enough he easily could have frozen to death within a short time,” he said.
The buck was found near Expedition Island where officials said it appeared he had become stuck by trying to cross an ice bridge.
Also assisting in the rescue were Green River Animal Control and the Sweetwater Combined Communications Center.