It was a big catch for Chad Campbell of Washington and Bo Warren of Virginia, even though the fish weren't biting. The bored fishermen were a mile and a half (2.4 km) offshore when they went to investigate what they thought was a seal. Fortunately for the deer, these fishermen were real cowboys. The deer was released into the wild after its rescue. File this one under eco-travel: deer on holiday? More pics and the full story over the fold.
From The Maryland Gazette:
"The catching was slow and they looked back to check their lines. They saw what appeared to be a seal with its snout out of the water, but they didn't think any seals were around their fishing grounds and they kept watching.
"Soon they realized it was a deer trying desperately to keep afloat--and obviously losing the battle. Fearing the whitetail would get snagged in their lines they cranked in their rigs. Then the deer headed straight for the boat possibly thinking it was a spit of land.
"But as it got closer and saw the two fishermen aboard, it had second thoughts. With its nose barely out of the water, it appeared to have been swimming all night, said Campbell. 'Since the fish weren't biting, we thought we'd give it a hand. Bo grew up around cows, was really handy with a bow line and lasooed the deer on the first attempt.'
"They got it close, Bo grabbed the neck, Chad got a good hold on a flank and 'we barreled over backwards to the deck -- and before we knew it, Bo was on top of the buck in velvet and had him hog tied like a calf.'
"Chad, said they feared the deer was going to 'kick the hell out of us in a 22-foot center console boat,' but they were lucky, it was too exhausted to resist, 'We hit the gas and ran him to the closest beach, Kent Point, where I beached the boat and we carefully unloaded our catch on the sand. We untied him and jumped back.
"'Too weak to stand, he just sat there quivering. We picked him up again and put his feet underneath him, but he still couldn't walk or stand. We left him sitting there looking at us. Before we left, I looked him in the eye and said 'See you on opening day; payback time.'
"'We don't know whether he made it or not, but we do know his chances were vastly improved for survival than when we first saw him.'"