Deer Tangled in Net is Freed

Gregory Vellner
A PA deer like this one is free at last.Unsplash

BERKS COUNTY, Pa. – A Pennsylvania Game Commission warden is being credited with using an unorthodox way to free a deer trapped by its antler in a net for some time here in this eastern state county.

Responding to an anonymous call from a resident, Warden Ryan Zawada arrived on scene to find a buck stuck in a net, he later said. How long it had been caught in the large vineyard net could not be determined, he said, noting the netting was caught tight around the top of the deer’s left antler. The deer appeared panicked and stressed, he added.

Zawada said he weighed options for freeing the deer, including a tranquilizer to “chemically immobilize” the buck before removal. He said he chose not to use the chemical because it might induce a heart attack in the stressed deer. A second option, he said, was to get up close to the deer and cut it loose from the netting. He did not use that plan, he said, because of the chance both he and the deer might be hurt. A third option was next, he said.

Zawada grabbed a shotgun, took a knee, lined up a shot on the tangled, panicked animal and fired, he later recalled. He said the blast severed the antler but missed the buck entirely. Freed, the deer dashed away and out of sight, he said. A piece of its antler still was stuck hanging in the net.

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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