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Deer in trouble in cold Alaskan waters were rescued by wildlife officers who took them into their boat

Two deer struggling in the waters of Southeast Alaska’s famous Inside Passage finally made it to land, thanks to two Alaska Wildlife Troopers who took the deer into their boat.

Sgt. Mark Finses and Trooper Kyle Feuge were returning from a patrol near Ernest Sound in Ketchikan on Oct. 10 when they spotted the deer, agency spokesman Justin Freeman said in an email to The Associated Press.

The deer were about 4 miles from any island in the channel, which is favored by the large cruise ships that take tourists during the summer months to places such as Ketchikan and Juneau.

In this image taken from video provided by Alaska Wildlife Troopers, one of two deer is seen struggling in the waters of Southeast Alaska’s famous Inside Passage, October 10, 2023, near Ketchikan, Alaska. Alaska.

The deer were floating in Clarence Strait about 14 miles northwest of Ketchikan, but not toward any particular island, Freeman said. They were struggling against the current at mid-tide.

“In the middle of Clarence, they are in bad shape, like in their last stop,” Finses said in a video he shot with his phone and that the soldiers posted on social media.

The troopers stopped their 33-foot patrol boat about 150 yards from the two deer, who saw the boat and headed toward it.

The deer were about 4 miles from any island in the channel when Sgt. Mark Finses and Trooper Kyle Feuge spotted them.

The soldiers cut off the engines so as not to frighten the animals.

When the deer reached the boat, they hit their heads against it, then swam to the step level, after which the soldiers helped them the rest of the way on board.

Once in the boat, the deer shivered after going through the cold water.

The soldiers helped the deer aboard and took them by boat to a nearby island.

The average water temperature in Ketchikan in October is 50.4 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I’m soaked to the skin,” Finses says in the video. “I had to pick them up and hug them to get them off our deck and onto the beach.”

Once back on land, the deer initially had difficulty standing and walking, Freeman said. But eventually, they were able to walk slowly before trotting off again.

The soldiers then managed to return the deer to the wild, where they trotted through the woods.

“The deer ended up being completely fine,” he said.

It is common to see deer swimming in the waters of southeast Alaska, going from island to island; What’s not common is seeing deer swim up to a boat and try to climb aboard, Freeman said.

New York Post

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