Video Shows Deer Stranded on Icy Vermont Lake Being Saved by Fishermen

The moment Vermont fishermen saved a deer they found stranded on a frozen lake has been captured on video.

The encounter happened near St. Albans in Franklin County, as four friends gathered on a frozen lake to ice fish.

"It made a bad day of fishing into a good day," Tom Ayer, from Hinesburg, told WCAX3 News. "We saw this black spot down probably a mile from where we were, and I got curious because it wasn't moving and I had a feeling it was a deer. Sure enough, we drove down, checked it out and it was a deer."

Official advice from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges people (FWD) not to intervene with wildlife and explicitly discourages people from trying to "save" animals

"Wildlife Doesn't Need 'Saving'. Resist the temptation to 'save' baby animals such as birds, deer or foxes that you may find alone... The mother is likely watching from a safe distance and will not return until you are gone. If you're really concerned that an animal looks injured or unwell, contact a wildlife rehabilitator," the FWD advised.

Christopher Herrick, the commissioner of Vermont FWD, suggested that in situations such as the one the four friends found themselves in, the authorities should be called.

"Ask to have a game warden call back immediately and somebody will call them, find out what's going on and direct them or give the advice for what's best in that specific situation," he said.

Ayer and his three friends decided to intervene after calling the FWD up to ask for advice.

They were told the deer would likely make a lot of noise when they attempted the rescue, but that they could help it off the ice and back to the edge of the woods, where Vermont deer typically live, by securing it to an improvised sled.

They did so and eventually the deer was transported to the edge of the lake. After regaining its strength, the animal was able to get back up on its feet and return to the woods.

Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Department estimated there were around 133,000 deer in the state prior to the 2021 hunt.

Stock image of deer in Vermont
Stock image of deer in Vermont. The state's Fish and Wildlife Department said that direct encounters with wildlife in Vermont were not encouraged. WenLaf/Getty Images