One of the best parts of this job is hearing the cool stories people are always sharing with me. One such story involves a couple fisherman who recently pulled a wayward buck from the choppy water of Chesapeake Bay.
It seems Chad Campbell and pal Bo Warren were trolling for striped bass about a mile offshore on Chesapeake Bay this past June when they spotted a good-sized button buck swimming behind the boat.
In an article appearing In the Maryland Gazette, Campbell wrote that he and Warren were amazed to discover the exhausted deer literally swimming for its life.
He was desperate and barely staying afloat, Campbell wrote. Ive seen deer swim a river or bayou before. When you see that, the first thing you notice is that they are powerful swimmers. Their heads and shoulders are out of the water and they make surprisingly good headway.
Such was not the case with this wayward buck. He was barely able to keep his nose out of the briny water.
The two decided to rope and attempt to rescue the floundering deer.
Bo grew up around cows and is really handy with a bowline. He lassoed the deer on the first try, Campbell wrote. (Then) Bo grabbed his neck, I grabbed the flank, and we barreled (him) over backwards into the boat. Before I knew it, Bo was on top of him and had him tied up just like a calf.
Understanding the importance of catch-and-release deer fishing (especially out of season), the men hightailed it to shore, where they carefully unloaded the weary whitetail, untied its legs and placed it on the beach.
Campbell wrote that they didnt see the buck get up and run away, but they assumed it took some time for it to recuperate from its long watery journey.
DEC Biologist Ed Reed said its not uncommon for deer to take to the water as an evasive maneuver from predators or simply to get from one shore to another.
Deer are very strong swimmers, and those that live near water bodies swim between islands and the mainland all the time, Reed said. In the Florida Keys some deer swim miles every day.
Reed shared a couple photos of a 10-point buck swimming in Crane Pond several years ago. They appear below.