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SALT LAKE COUNTY — A Division of Wildlife Resources officer risked his own safety to help a stranded deer on the thin ice of the Mountain Dell Reservoir Friday. The exciting rescue was caught on video.
Eyeballing the ice, officials estimated it was no more than three inches thick.
"(It was) clear as ice. Good ice. Still a little bit thin," said DWR conservation officer Sean Spencer.
A doe mule deer was stuck on the ice and couldn't stand to walk away. The deer most likely didn't know how slippery the ice was, until it got to a point where it couldn't move. The doe was about 100 yards off shore on the ice, just off the East Canyon exit in Parleys Canyon.
Spencer donned the ice safety suit and started walking out to rescue the doe stranded on the reservoir. But, the ice started cracking so his colleague told him to crawl across the ice.
"That's what I did," Spencer said. "It makes you a little nervous, but I just laid down flat and started shimmying out to the deer out there."
The frightened deer started flailing, trying to get away and the DWR employees could hear the water under the ice sloshing around as the deer struggled to gain footing.
At first, Spencer thought about throwing his safety rope around her and have his team on shore pull them both back. However, he said as he put his feet forward to protect himself from the deer's kicking, it actually helped him rescue the doe.
"So, she kicked off of my foot and it pushed her closer to shore, and I thought, ‘Hey, that's a pretty good idea,' " Spencer said.
Spencer guided the doe off the ice and onto shore. The DWR employees later took the deer to the nearby Mountain Dell Golf Course to make sure it was a safe distance from the ice.
Spencer said all they can do know is hope she'll be safe in the future.
A hunter later asked why they made such a big deal about rescuing the doe.
"The public doesn't like it if you just said ‘Eh, just leave it out there to die,' " Spencer said. "We're here to help the wildlife and that's what we did. We got out there and tried to do what we could to save her."