When Bellvue resident Judy Jackson says “The buck stops here,” she’s speaking literally about a randy young mule deer that twice showed up in her yard with junk tangled in his antlers.
The first time was in mid-October.
“I was looking out the window and saw this young 4-point buck. His antlers were wrapped up in something and it was pushing his ear down onto his head,” Jackson said. “It looked really uncomfortable.”
Jackson grabbed her camera and snapped a couple of quick photos, then made a quick call to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Turns out, the young buck was jousting with a 20-foot piece of fiberglass mesh tape that contained embedded strands of wire filament.
“Colorado Parks and Wildlife came out and tranquilized him and he took off,” she says. “He finally fell in some tall grass a ways from here and the only way they found him was he had all these females standing around him.”
The does seemed to be looking at the mess their guy had gotten himself into.
“We lost sight of him and walked most of Bellvue before we found him in that field,” district wildlife manager Shane Craig said.
They untangled and tagged him and then waited for the tranquilizer to wear off, Craig said. “We always wait until they’re up and moving before we leave.”
Two weeks later, in early November, Jackson saw her new friend again. This time the tagged buck had a portable clothesline — metal poles clanging like wind chimes — caught in his antlers. “I said, ‘you are the dumbest buck, ever.’ But those eyes were so sad. I really felt sorry for him.”
Although unspoken, he may have been thinking, “Hey, lady, you know the dudes you called before…”
Jackson grabbed her camera, snapped another shot and made the call.
Craig says Parks and Wildlife got several reports this time and the same rescue scenario unfolded. The buck was tranquilized, chased down and the clothesline was removed.
“The second time we used a tranquilizer from our wildlife vet and then used a reversal so he’d come out of it pretty quickly,” Craig said.
He did and took off to find his does — and other encounters.
“The last time I saw him, he was walking south toward our Bellvue unit but on the southwest side of Bellvue,” Craig said. “We haven’t heard from him since. Hopefully after two times, he’ll go find a bush.”
Bucks and bull elk and moose with objects caught in their antlers is common in October and November, Craig said.
“This time of year, they use their antlers a lot and with the possibility of winning does and pushing other bucks around, he’ll do it more and more. I’ve darted everything from moose with fence lines to bull elk with lawn chairs,” he said. “It’s that time of year when they are getting aggressive and, in the rutting process, they pick some odd things.”
Craig advises anyone who sees wildlife that may look like they need help to call the experts.
“Don’t approach them. That way we can keep them calm,” he said. “It’s a natural instinct for someone to want to go up to help the animal but it pushes their instincts. If you see them, leave them and let us we know exactly where they are. We’ll get on them as quickly as possible.”
For questions or to report any wildlife issues, call 970-472-4300.