Deer hitch a ride on Alaskan fishing charter (photos)

Deer hitch a ride on Alaskan fishing charter (photos) December 14, 2011
Photos of these deer hitching a ride on an Alaskan fishing boat are making the rounds on Facebook.

I love when stories make the rounds on Facebook, because they’re often very inspiring. But oftentimes they’re not completely true. The latest story making the rounds is about four deer who hitched a ride on an Alaskan fishing boat.

 True story, but not recent.

It was October 2010 when captain Tom Satre, along with his daughter Anna Satre, brother Tim Satre and sister Sharon Kelly, were motoring towards Taku Harbor, located in the  State Marine Park 25 miles south of Juneau, Alaska.

According to published reports, as they neared Point Arden, Sharon Kelly, a birding enthusiast, raised her binoculars and spotted something in the water. What she was wasn’t birds or sea lions. Instead, she saw four deer heads bobbing along in the water.

The deer, making their way to safety on the boat.

“They swam right toward the boat,” Tom Satre told back in October 2010. “Then, they started to circle the boat. They were looking up and looked like they needed help.”

Clearly in distress, the deer were foaming at the mouth. So Satre fashioned a lasso and helped the four juvenile black-tail bucks onto the boat. Shivering and unable to stand, the deer lay on the deck in the sun at the boat headed toward port. The article goes on to explain:

Once the group reached the dock, the first to be pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back, then leapt into the waters of the harbor and swam to shore. He quickly disappeared into the forest. Two others followed suit, after a bit of prodding and assistance from the group.

“The last one was in real trouble,” Satre said. “I think he was the biggest of the four. He couldn’t get the water off him. I massaged him, he was shaking and was very hypothermic, I think.”

All but the smallest deer managed to leap from the boat. The group attempted to transport it by wheelbarrow to the woods, but the wheelbarrow had a flat.  

Tom Satre stood next to the deer as it revived, warmed and slowly became more alert. Time and time again the deer would try to stand, but its legs would fail. The group would lift up the animal; it would move a few steps and collapse again. With this combination of efforts, the last deer was finally on the trail and standing, on wobbly legs, on its own.

So while this is a true story, it is from 2010. Not that it makes it any less inspiring or heartwarming. Wouldn’t you love to know what story the deer told their friends when they got back to their herd? “Hey, we hitched a ride on this fishing boat. Way faster than swimming.”

(Photos from the Second Chance Ranch Facebook page, which is generating much of the Facebook interest.)

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