'Once in a lifetime' shot: 2 deer freed after locking antlers
CALGARY -- Russ Wright was driving home last Wednesday when he witnessed two deer in his field in the M.D. of Foothills, south of Calgary.
“One was lying down the other was over the top of the other, with his head into the other deer's head,” he said.
“(I was) thinking this is odd, something’s not right.”
He called Alberta Fish and Wildlife, thinking one of the deer must be dead.
Sgt. Scott Kallweit was dispatched to the call and needed a single bullet to free the animals and send them on their way unharmed.
“Scott grabbed his shotgun with some slugs," said Wright. "Just one shot, the deer got up, took off, it was such a cool scene. I’ve never witnessed that in my life, probably never will. It was a once in a lifetime thing.”
For Kallweit, it was just another day on the job.
"The shot was definitely dynamic but it is simply a matter of waiting for a good opportunity when both deer are still, and a safe shot can be made," he said.
"This is not the first time this has been done, and officers have successfully freed deer using this method before. Every situation is different. In some cases, it may be safer to free the animals by cutting the antlers with a saw, but officers would have to get very close to the agitated animal. In this case, this was not an option.
"If the deer were unable to separate from one another, there was a risk one or both animals die from exhaustion or other injuries."
An avid hunter himself, Wright runs a local taxidermy shop on his property.
He has seen many deer not make it and with hunting season coming to an end, he says he was thrilled to see these two still alive.
“For them to make it this far and have to die a death like that, we were so happy to see them go, just to see them move on and live another day,” said Wright.
Wright says it's not common to see two male deer lock antlers outside of breeding season.
“They fight during the breeding season, but now they’re losing their antlers and not fighting so much anymore, this was kind of a one-off," he said.
The broken antler is with Kallweit. Wright says he has not seen the deer return to his property.