21 March 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Not Passing the Buck

A little while ago, we were taking a walk with an estate agent friend of ours in the little country town of Bedford in the Eastern Cape.

Right on the edge of town was a property that bordered on a little river. And from across this river, through the trees, we heard a strange sound, a kind of bellowing.

It was not a sound you could ignore, and we all picked our way through the trees to find the source of it. Suddenly I saw the movement, and the outline of a distressed fallow deer leapt out at me.

His foot was trapped in a length of wire and he was absolutely frantic. Maybe he’d been there for the whole night. I crept through a hole in the fence and stripped off my shirt (fortunately I had a t-shirt underneath) to put over the deer’s eyes.

He immediately calmed down, and lay quiet and trembling while my husband Chris and our friend Kim van Niekerk worked together on the wire. Finally, they removed it and the fallow deer was free.

The moment of truth. I removed my shirt and retreated a few metres. The deer lay completely still except for the heaving of his ribs. Was he scared or paralysed? Suddenly he got to his feet and stood still again.

Then as we watched, he whirled and sprinted to safety. But on the edge of the clearing he paused, looked back and snorted, then ran again.

Kim, Chris and I took it as a thank you.

Category: Wildlife

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