Rescued deer to be rehabilitated
- By DANETTE M. WATT
For The Telegraph
GODFREY - The dramatic rescue Friday morning of two does stuck on the ice last
week appears to have a happy ending for the older of the two whose prognosis was
uncertain that evening.
The deer had been stranded since at least Wednesday on a portion of iced-over
Mississippi River a quarter mile east of Stanka Lane, off the Great River Road
(Illinois Route 100).
Once rescued, the younger deer, a yearling, ran off into woods at the foot of
the limestone cliffs just east of Stoneledge Drive. But the older deer,
estimated to be age 5 or 6, wasn't as nimble. She was likely suffering from
stress and hypothermia after her two-day ordeal, Treehouse Wildlife Center
Director Lynn Schrieber said after the rescue. The doe was unable to stand up
and could only scoot forward a few feet from where she had been placed by
Todd Thompson, one of the men who went out on the ice during the rescue, stayed
with her for more than five hours Friday, at one point slipping plastic under
her to keep her off the cold ground and covering her with more plastic.
Thompson, 43, of Holiday Shores, said when he left her Friday night, she was
"coherent" but still couldn't move.
"I checked on her about 8 this morning," Thompson said Saturday afternoon. "She
was still covered with the plastic and I gave her some food and water. I tried
to find some straw and couldn't but went back again about 9 or 9:30 with a
comforter for her."
He was headed home when an Illinois Department of Conservation officer called
him to tell him he had found someone to rehabilitate her.
"Apparently this man in Centralia has a license to rehabilitate wild animals.
The officer said she traveled well," Thompson said.
Thompson said the deer's back legs aren't broken but the hair on them had been
frozen to the ice when she was on the river. He said she is probably dehydrated
and weak from her ordeal.
Motorists noticed the deer Thursday morning after an ice storm hit the area but
DOC officers said it was too dangerous to attempt a rescue. A helicopter pilot,
Thompson, and other unidentified men embarked on a concerted rescue effort
Friday morning. When Bill Houska, chief pilot for Helicopters Inc. of Sauget,
hovered over the ice, the downdraft from the copter's blades pushed the yearling
to shore at 10:25 a.m.
Thompson, a member of the Alton Water Ski Club, donned water skis to make his
way out to the deer to assist another man already there. He slipped the handle
of a water ski rope around the deer's neck and a contingent of four men on shore
helped rescuers on the ice get the deer to shore at 10:40 a.m.
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