Stag Tangled in Rope Swing Rescued by Wildlife Experts Using 3 Rounds of Anesthesia

A stag was recently found entangled in a rope swing outside of an Illinois home. Wildlife experts called to the scene managed to free the animal, but not without a fight. According to an expert at the scene, deer in the area aren't frequently in need of rescue. But wildlife officials said they have been known to damage property.

UPI reported the Lake County Sheriff's Department responded to a call that a buck had somehow gotten its large antlers entangled in the rope swing. Deputy Tommy Flores told the outlet that the animal was "thrashing dangerously" in an attempt to free itself.

Quickly realizing this was not their area of expertise, the deputies on the scene called Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation founder Dawn Keller.

She shared video and images from the rescue to the center's Facebook page and admitted that the "dangerous" part of the interaction was getting close enough to anesthetize it.

"It probably had at least a 30-foot diameter circle that it could move because of the length of the rope," she said in the social post.

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In the video posted to Facebook, Keller can be seen carrying a large object for protection.

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"We were concerned if she got close enough, he could have gored her with his antlers," Flores told local outlet, Daily Herald.

Eventually, she did manage to anesthetize the deer, but it took more than one round to subdue him.

"His adrenaline was so pumped that it took us three rounds of anesthetic to get him groggy enough that we could safely approach him," Keller said in the Facebook post.

According to the Daily Herald, Flint Creek Rehabilitation sees more than 3,000 animals a year. Of those, very few are deer. But, that's not because deer aren't common in the state. As it turns out, Illinois has a rather abundant deer population.

Website Deer Friendly estimated that Illinois had a population size of 670,000 deer in 2019. Newsweek could not find an updated number for 2020.

With so many deer around in both urban and non-urban areas, wildlife officials said a chief complaint among residents is property damage caused by deer. This, they said, can be prevented in a variety of ways.

"When the deer population is not too large, damage can be limited by using habitat modification, repellents, or exclusion," said Wildlife Illinois on their website. Habitat modification can include planting certain species of plants that deter deer or even removing those that attract deer.

However, Wildlife Illinois also explained that "a deer will eat almost any plant if it is hungry enough," so damage can still occur.

"When these damage abatement techniques prove ineffective, removal may be necessary," they said. Only individuals with a proper license can remove deer.

In cases where a deer is spotted on private property and appears to be injured, stuck or even a threat, it's best to call local officials.

Reports stated it took Keller more than two hours to rescue the deer from the rope swing. During that time, Daily Herald reported that the hairs on their antlers known as "velvet" started to rip away. Pictures shared in the center's Facebook post depict this.

But that didn't concern Keller. What did concern her was the stress the stag was under.

"He was in shock," she told the outlet. "Deer are prone to something called capture myopathy. It will kill them."

Thankfully, though, it appears the buck may have survived this round.

Keller told the Daily Herald that once the buck was free, he looked "great." She is hopeful he will be just fine.

Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation founder Dawn Keller was recently called to a residence in Illinois to help free a stag from a rope swing. Stock image of a wild buck. Matt_Gibson/iStock