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Tangled buck freed by Idaho officer; video goes viral

An Idaho Fish and Game Department officers frees a buck entangled in baling twine. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)
An Idaho Fish and Game Department officers frees a buck entangled in baling twine. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

WILDLIFE -- Last week I posted a video showing the bold effort of a man releasing a frantic entangled buck that calmed down to let the rescuer help. Now here's the rest of the story from Idaho Fish and Game:

It wasn't an average day at the office for Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer John McLain when he encountered a white-tailed buck tangled in baling twine, but his average days don't go viral on the Internet, either.

In August, McLain received a call about an entangled buck near Orofino, and he went to investigate it. Finding the buck, he turned on his body-mounted camera and thought, "this might be a video of me getting my butt kicked, or it might turn out alright."

Fortunately, it was the latter, although not without some drama that he captured on video. Upon seeing McLain, the buck panicked, but the twine had wrapped around its front leg and prevented it from fleeing. The buck quickly exhausted itself, and that's when McLain went to work carefully cutting the twine from its leg and antlers.

Once freed, the deer remained on the ground for a few seconds, then bound away and appeared uninjured by the experience.

It wasn't the first time McLain dealt with entangled deer during his nine years as a Fish and Game conservation officer. Another time, he untangled a deer from a soccer net, and in a sports-related coincidence, another deer wandered into a batting cage in Orofino. When McLain tried to help it get out, "I kind of went for a ride," he said.

After posting his video to his Facebook page, he watched in amazement as the world took notice.

"I knew it would get some shares, but when it hit 100,000, I was like ‘Wow,'" he said.

So far, the video has been shared more than 147,000 times and liked more than 69,000 times. He received hundreds of friend requests and personal messages because of it.

Wildlife rescues are common for Fish and Game's Conservation officers, who may be called on to deal with all types of situations. They can be as routine as herding a wild animal out of town, to as bizarre as tranquilizing a bull elk to remove porcupine quills from its nose.

"It happens," McLain said. "I just happened to catch this one on video."

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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