This took some incredible marksmanship.
But an Alberta wildlife officer proved to be just the sharpshooter one deer needed to survive.
An officer in the Whitecourt area of northern Alberta was able to save a male deer caught in a joust with another deer as their antlers had become hopelessly trapped together.
“One deer had sadly already passed away, but it’s rival was still stuck and fighting hard to free itself,” Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement wrote on Facebook Friday. “This made it very difficult for the officer to get close enough to take a hands-on approach.”
Often, if the animals aren’t able to untangle themselves, they can be locked in a “fierce and prolonged struggle until one or both animals die from exhaustion or a broken neck,” officials explained.
Sometimes experts can get close enough to saw through the antlers. That wasn’t the case here. And in cold temperatures, using tranquilizers might make recovery tough as the deer falls into a state of hypothermia. So that wasn’t an option, either.
Instead, this officer took aim with the best intentions.
“Ultimately, the officer determined that the location provided a safe and open area to discharge a firearm, so with a very careful aim, he shot off parts of the locked antlers,” Alberta wildlife continued. “Once freed, the deer ran off towards the tree line and will live to fight another day.”