Terrified Deer Very Close To Drowning Are Rescued By Boaters

This is one of the most amazing animal rescues I’ve ever read. Tom Satre and his family were out boating in Alaska when they came to the rescue of four animals in distress.

Note: This article originally appeared on DogHeirs.com and is reprinted here with permission.

The family was yachting in Alaska’s Taku Inlet when they saw wild animals, who aren’t normally found in the ocean, in the water swimming towards their boat.

Deer swimming in the ocean

They got a little closer and … oh, deer! There were strong winds and two-foot whitecap waves that October day. The young Sitka black-tail deer were battling the waves and the cold. They were clearly  in distress.

Deer needed to be rescued from the water

Tired and disoriented, the deer were over a mile from shore and looking for somewhere to go.

Deer circled a boat looking for help

“They swam right toward the boat,” Tom said. “Then they started to circle the boat. They were looking up like they needed help.”

Deer rescued by boaters

Tom and his family knew they had to get the deer out of the water if they were to survive. But how could they get them on board the ship safely?

The deer were relieved to be on the boat

“I formed a lasso with the mooring line and dropped it around their heads one at a time,” said Tom. “They were about 85 pounds (39 kg), sopping wet. We were fortunate to have a low swim step at the stern, and I was able to pull them onboard. If we had to haul them over the side, I couldn’t have done it.”

Kelly with the deer on the boat

The deer were happy to be out of the water and sat on the boat’s deck shivering from the cold. One of the deer was hypothermic so Tom massaged the deer to warm him up.

Tom helps warm up rescued deer

“The last one was in really poor shape. He was very hypothermic. I massaged him for 20 minutes trying to warm him up. He bleated like a little lamb. I think he was appreciative.”


Tom’s sister, Sharon Kelly, his daughter Anna and brother Tim helped him take care of the deer as they made their way back to harbor. It was an hour journey to shore and when they arrived at Taku Harbor the deer had warmed up.

Rescued deer are helped off the boat

One deer quickly jumped onto the dock and found its way to the forest. The crew helped get the other deer out of the boat.

Deer helped with wheelbarrow

The hypothermic deer had to be carried in a wheelbarrow and pushed off of the boat.

Hypothermic deer had to be helped

The wheelbarrow had a flat tire so they waited at the dock for the one deer to warm up enough to get to his feet.

Deer makes its way off of boat

Eventually he got up began walking towards the woods.

Deer helped off the dock

They helped lead him in the right direction.

Deer helped off of dock

All the deer were returned safely to the woods and Tom and his family called the rescue one of those “defining moments in life.”

Rescuers pose with one of the deer they rescued

You can find out more about adventure charters with Tom at his website Alaska Quest Charters. You never know what kind adventure is waiting to happen!

This article was reprinted with permission from DogHeirs.com, with original permission from Alaska Quest Charters.

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