Kayakers Rescue Buck From Sea Caves

Buck Believed To Be Trapped For A Week

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Deer are a common site in the Northland, but not so much in Lake Superior when kayakers come face to face with the animal.

FOX 21’s Dan Hanger brings you the incredible story of survival for an eight-point buck that could have drowned or starved to death if it weren’t for exploring kayakers with big hearts.

“I was a little shocked,” said Jen Boyd, one of the canoeists from the Ashland area who videotaped the rescue experience.

“I am sure the fear in my eyes matched his. And the look on his face was almost to say are you here to hurt me,” Boyd said.

Park rangers believe the buck jumped off the 60-foot click near Bayfield, which can be seen from Meyers Beach.

“In each of those little caves, as the kayakers and coming in, it gets spooked. There don’t know where to go. They get scared. And that’s what led to it being trapped in there so long,” explained Joe Simon, a park ranger.

The deer was trapped so long the kayakers – Boyd and friend Dawn Kerrigan and her son, Ricky, could see the deer’s bone-thinning structure.

“You could just — prominent hip bones sticking out. He just looked weak. He was just shaking and shivering because inside the cave the water is freezing,” Boyd said.

Knowing there was no chance for the big guy to get free on its own, the group was determined to set the deer free.

“I was doing deer calls at him and he’d turn and look and then go back for a while and he’d come back out and go back,” said Kerrigan.

But eventually, those calls began to work.

“I think he recognized that even though I am human, I was trying to help him. Because I talk and do deer calls and later he just calmed down a little,” Kerrigan explained.

And that’s when – with a few nudges from behind – the buck squeezed out of the dark cave and into the light for a side-by-side swim to safety.

“I had a rope handy and everything, but never had to use it,” Kerrigan said.

“I couldn’t believe it at first that he was actually swimming right by my kayak,” said Ricky Kerrigan.

 “It brings me to tears sometimes because I don’t want to see any animal suffer, especially not like that,” Boyd said.

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