Stunned Fishermen Rescue a Deer Swimming 5 Miles off the Coast of Maine

A very lucky deer to lived to see another day.
Photo: Ren Dorr (Facebook)

In a fish tale like no other, a crew of lobstermen pulled in young deer that somehow managed to swim a whopping 5 miles (8 kilometers) from shore.

Writing on Facebook, Captain Ren Dorr said the deer was spotted in the waters off the Maine coast on November 4, 2019. The deer was in a bad way, “drifting farther away from land.” Unwilling to “let the poor guy suffer,” his team “brought him aboard and sailed him half hour to land,” where they dropped him off a few feet from the shore. Mission accomplished, the fisherman sailed back out to sea to resume their work, hopefully with more lobster and less deer.

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Photo: Ren Dorr/Facebook

Photos posted to Dorr’s Facebook page show what happened, including an absolutely forehead-slapping shot of the deer swimming in the ocean with its head adroitly sticking out of the water. We can only imagine what the fishermen thought when they stumbled upon the strange sight. Images of the deer on the boat, curled up into a corner, pretty much sums it up for how the deer must’ve felt after the ordeal.

Rescued, the sailors gave the deer some space for some much needed rest as they headed back to shore.
Image: Ren Dorr/Facebook

Speaking to ABC News, crewmember Jared Thaxter said the boat had to circle the deer a few times before they were able to take hold of the deer, saying “they grabbed him by the spikes and maybe a leg or two and just dragged him in.” Watching the deer scramble to safety once back on shore was a “great feeling,” said Thaxter.

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The fishermen releasing the deer back to shore.
Image: Ren Dorr/Facebook

This is definitely a weird situation, but it’s not hugely surprising. Deer are known to be excellent swimmers, and it’s not uncommon for them to use rivers or larger bodies of water as a way to avoid predators and even hunters.

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This poor guy, it would appear, just ran into some bad luck—and then some unreasonably good luck and good people. Cheers to Captain Ren Dorr and his crew for providing us with some nice news for a change.

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About the author

George Dvorsky

George is a senior staff reporter at Gizmodo.