Photos: Pennsylvania gamekeeper fires to free deer with antlers caught in net

A buck whose antlers became entangled in a net in Berks County was recently freed with a little ingenuity by a Pennsylvania Game Commission guard and a perfectly aimed shot from his long rifle.

The wildlife commission shared photos of the deer’s rescue on Facebook on Monday. The exact time and location of the incident have not been disclosed. One of the photos captures the incredible moment when the blast fired by the guard hit the deer’s antlers, severing it.

Buck Shot PennsylvaniaPatrick Scott/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Pennsylvania Game Commission guard Ryan Zawada fires a perfect shot at a buck’s stuck antler.

Officials learned of the buck after someone reported that it appeared to be trapped. Director Ryan Zawada was called to the scene to assist the animal.

🦌 This buck recently shed antlers in a non-typical manner. State Game Warden Ryan Zawada recently commented on rather…

Posted by Pennsylvania Game Commission on Monday, March 21, 2022

“Given the deer’s state of emergency upon arrival, SGW Zawada was nervous that chemical immobilization was not a safe option for removing the deer from the net,” Pennsylvania Game Commission officials wrote in the Facebook post. “He decided the best option was to shoot off the captured antlers. After the shot, one antler lighter, the buck ran off unharmed.”

The game committee could not immediately answer what kind of firearms and ammunition were used.

Male deer, or bucks, shed their antlers every year, usually between January and April after the mating season has ended and their testosterone levels have dropped. The antlers fall off the peduncles where they are mounted and the growth process begins again, with more elaborate structures and tips as the buck ages.

The shedding of the antlers does not hurt the animals. In the growth phase, the antlers are covered with a soft velvet membrane that provides the nutrients needed to build bone mass over a period of two to four months. As testosterone levels increase, the veins and arteries surrounding the velvet constrict and the blood supply is cut off. Bucks rub their antlers against trees to remove the velvet before mating season.

The appearance of the buck suggests that it is a relatively young animal.

As impressive as Zawada’s shot was, there are a number of videos online that show the even more difficult situation that can arise when two bucks entangle their antlers during clashes to assert dominance. In these cases, one or both dollars will often die unless something is done to help.

One of the most skillful displays of marksmanship took place outside Calgary in Alberta, Canada in 2020, when a wildlife officer mated a shot during a tense battle between two bucks jammed together.

Another incident occurred last winter in Kansas, where a game warden also hit his target and saved the two deer.

Kudos to Zawada for the hard shot to help Berks County win without endangering themselves or anyone else. It takes a lot of skill and confidence to get that done without any problems.

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