Yesterday morning while out for a morning walk, my husband and I saw three deer across the field and it is always a delight to spot a deer out of the ordinary, although it was a park. I had my phone so I took a few pictures as we got closer to the area they were in. They were not running away, they were hanging out but also looking at us.
What started out as an awesome way to start the day quickly changed. While I was taking the pictures my husband noticed one of the deer were caught. I didn't have my glasses on so I did not see that at first.
Between those poles are netting, you are looking at a field that is used for soccer. I do not know who owns or maintains he soccer fields but I do know Nether Providence Township soccer kids play here and I have also in previous years seen the Philadelphia Union practice here.
It is my understanding that Chester owns the fields and rents the space to the township and maybe still the Union. This is all just background information that doesn't matter too much with what happened today.
This buck was struggling and caught in the net. I wasn't sure what to do so I called 911. An officer from Nether Providence arrived and my husband had to scoot off to work. I remained.
The situation deteriorated even more quickly now. The officer and I walked closer and the buck was ferociously fighting to free himself and get away. The other buck stood by diligently and looked to us. The officer clapped and whistle at the other buck and he did wander deeper back into the woods. As we got closer, we found another distressing sight between the third set of pole another smaller deer was stuck and he was not moving.
I wanted the officer to just walk up there and cut the net and free the deer. Luckily the officer was smarter than I am and approached in a more logical and cautious way. The buck was still thrashing around and it was not safe to approach this very upset animal. I wasn't doing too good on the emotional end either.
The officer, and I wish I got his name and could give him credit, then called either animal control or the game warden and then asked dispatch or someone for a guy named Andy's number I think it was.
The deer either was exhausted or had injured his neck from all the jostling about he had done trying to free himself. He seemed to have settled down and was not moving around as much, if at all. The officer approached and cut some of the net from the pole furthest away from the animal, maybe that would loosen up the stress and tension on the animal. The deer did not move but the officer said he was still breathing, he could see the mist coming out of his nostrils. I could see his eyes were still open but his tongue was hanging out which everyone later said was not a good sign.
Eventually another officer arrived and a township truck and employee that had a long pole with a blade on it to cut the net at a distance. This would prevent injury to anyone possibly endangered by the sharp and damaging spikes on the bucks antlers, if he chose to do anymore thrashing.
The blade was not cutting, I remembered we had a pole saw that would cut it. I ran/walked five blocks and by the time I returned the three men, two police officers and the township employee had cut the net somehow and the buck was just resting, they said. I did what I could have done and I left. I forgot, I also dragged my neighbor Bill into it. As I was running through my backyard with this pole saw on the way back to the soccer field, I asked him to give me a ride it would be quicker. My car was in the shop for inspection. Bill also gave me a ride home. I didn't need to see that story on Action News or horrors Facebook, "Woman running through neighborhood with long pole and a sharp blade on it."
I don't know if that buck made it and in my heart of hearts I hope he did. Something made us spot those deer this morning and discover the buck in distress. I hope it had meaning. This time a child will not show up at soccer practice and find a dead deer maybe two on the field where they play.
There are a lot more deer out this time of year, there are also a lot more people. What we fail to remember is, we share the land. Most wild animals, bring us joy when we spot 'em, I have photographed many of them. We also do not want to get too close, they are wild animals. We don't know what they will do, so we shoot them for sport and necessity. I don't have solutions for sharing the land but I have an idea that would perhaps have prevented this sad incident.
Please share this sad story with the Soccer Moms and Dads, coaches and players, maybe they have an even better solution to prevent this from happening again.
My idea is to take down that back tall netting. Have a parent or two stand back there and retrieve the out of bounds balls. Those deer never had a chance in seeing that net late at night or early in the morning at dusk and the open netting was there just waiting to ensnare something. Can you spot it in the photograph?
I am sure the person that designed it and came up with the brilliant idea that our soccer field needs this, had no idea of the consequences. If someone doesn't mention it doesn't work for all walks of life, it won't be changed. We can not shield our children from all the dangers in life but I think we can chase after soccer balls. The smaller deer that was definitely deceased was a baby, entangled in the net. I do not know if the older deer was there to rescue the little one and fell victim to the same fate or the two were just happily froicking through the field and got trapped.
Can those tall nets be raised and lower to the ground when not in use during a game or after practice? Who would have ever suspected this to be a problem. Not me, until I witnessed it for myself. It was horrible to watch and hopefully something that can be prevented in the future.