I spend a lot of time outdoors during all seasons of the year, and over the years, I've witnessed some interesting things. On Manitou one January, we drove snowmobiles up to a very groggy bear taking a mid-January stroll across the ice. A few years back, I had a very healthy timber wolf take a mid-afternoon siesta on the ice 300 yards from my portable shelter on Trout Lake. I've watched a family of otters cavorting on their mud slide on the shoreline and then come in on a night mission and pilfer the walleyes from our stringer while we slept. I must say though that what happened on Saturday afternoon may just take the cake.
My friend Paul Maki and I are putting his fish house out on Lake Vermilion and Paul needs to run back to his cabin for some wood blocking. Shortly after he leaves my cell phone rings, "Ah, Pauly, I'm looking at a fawn flailing around on the ice. It can't stand up." I reply, "Well why don't you pick it up and get it to shore?" He says, "I don't want to get kicked." My reply, "Come out and get me and the two of us will get that thing off the ice . His retort, "Let's get it off here before the wolves do." Game on.
He picks me up, we ride up and there it is on the ice, legs splayed at awkward angles, exhausted from it's futile attempts to stand. There's no snow on the ice and it can't get any foothold with it's hooves. As I walk up I hand Paul my iPhone and say, "This is unreal. We need some pictures." The deer is very scared and wheezing like an asthmatic while still attempting to stand. I reach down and grab ahold of the deer and literally pet it like a dog. As it relaxes, I feel it's heartbeat slow. Paul walks over and grabs ahold of the front end and I the back and we hoist the deer into the sled/trailer.
It never attempts to escape and actually relaxes as if it realizes that we're it's only hope. A somewhat incredulous Chad Mesojedec watches this unfold and cheers as we lift the deer out of the sled, set it on shore, and it bounds off, worn out but otherwise unharmed and holding it's head high.
It happened rather quickly, We didn't have a lot of time to think about what had just transpired, but when we looked at the pictures, all we could do was say, "Wow! That's once in a lifetime!" Chalk it up as another of the many campfire stories we have to tell.