This isn’t your average ‘fishing tale’. It’s more of a ‘black-tailed buck tale’.
Nature abounds in Alaska, but sometimes, you can have the most unexpected encounters.
Tom Satre and his family were 25 miles south of Juneau on his 62-foot charter vessel, The Alaska Quest, for a bit of lunch one Sunday afternoon when deer were spotted in distress in the water.
..This State Marine Park is located 25 miles south of Juneau and boasts a public dock, a public use cabin and few other decrepit buildings. It’s a fine place to get out of the weather and soak up the sun. For the four family members – Satre, his daughter Anna Satre, brother Tim Satre and Kelly – this was to serve as a locale for a Sunday luncheon. But as they neared Point Arden, Kelly spotted something in the water. She raised her binoculars. Expecting to see the bobbing body of a sea lion or the heads of eiders, instead she saw ears – deer ears.
Kelly ran to get her brother. Satre slowed the boat, and the group began to watch the group of four juvenile Sitka black-tailed deer. “They swam right toward the boat,” he said. “Then, they started to circle the boat. They were looking up and looked like they needed help.” This was the first time he’d ever seen deer in this much distress, Satre said. They were foaming at the mouth, and not able to make it onto the swim step, they instead swam under it. The group knew something had to be done.
Source: Field and Stream
Tom explains what happened next:
“Once the deer reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at us. We could tell right away that the young bucks were distressed. I opened up my back gate and we helped the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals onto the boat. In all my years fishing, I’ve never seen anything quite like it! Once on board, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.”
“This is a photo I took of the rescued bucks on the back of my boat, the Alaska Quest. We headed for Taku Harbour.”
“Once we reached the dock, the first buck that we had pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back as if to say ‘thank you’ and disappeared into the forest.”
“After a bit of prodding and assistance, two more followed, but the smallest deer needed a little more help.”
“This is me carrying the little guy.”
“My daughter, Anna, and son, Tim, helped the last buck to its feet. We didn’t know how long they had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive.
My daughter later told me that the experience was something that she would never forget, and I suspect the deer felt the same way as well!”
What an incredible story.
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