Family rescues drowning fawn from river currents

Posted at 10:08 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 22:08:08-04

WAUSHARA COUNTY, WI (WBAY/CNN) -  A family boating on a Wisconsin River knew they had to do something when they spotted a baby deer struggling to stay afloat. Their fast action saved the fawn's life, and officials say the family did the right thing by leaving the scared animal alone to recover. 

A fun day of family boating quickly turned emotional this weekend. "We thought it was a log at first, you know, just floating...and we realized it was moving around and it was a deer. And it was really struggling, it was very little,” said Vanessa Roebke, who helped rescue the deer.

The family came upon the struggling baby deer caught in the Fox River's current.  "My brother put on a life vest and he jumped in. It was shallow enough where we had him go in that he could stand and get it,” Roebke said.

After that they carried the frightened fawn to the shore. "It was like little vibrating crazy, he was...and his heart, when I was holding him, his heart was just racing crazy. You know, I think any more stress or any more fear, probably would have, you know, not been good for it at all,” Roebke said.

From there, they were instructed to leave the deer alone. "The DNR, (Department of Natural Resources) I think, is who dad finally got to and they said to leave it, too, so...,” Roebke said.

The family says they feel leaving the deer behind just wasn't doing enough. But according to the DNR, they did exactly what they were supposed to do.

"It was a good thing for the people to go and rescue this fawn that was certainly struggling in the river. They're not very good swimmers at this point yet, but getting him back up on the's best to leave it just be, because it will find its way back to its mother,” said Joshua Martinez, a wildlife biologist.

The DNR says at this time of year fawns are usually strong enough to live on their own, and that all deer are safer in the wild than they are in captivity.


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