Calgary wildlife officer uses shotgun to free deer who locked antlers

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WATCH: Quick thinking and sharpshooting by a Fish and Wildlife officer from Calgary meant two deer locked at the antlers got to live another day. Michael King reports – Feb 1, 2020

As Russ Wright drove home on Wednesday, he spotted two deer in a field south of Calgary — but something wasn’t right.

“I stopped and realized these deer had locked antlers,” Wright said. “That’s crazy because you just don’t see that. They were locked tight.”

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At first, Wright said he thought one of the deer was dead and called Fish and Wildlife.

Scott Kallweit, sergeant for Calgary’s Fish and Wildlife district, answered the call.

“It was pretty dynamic in terms of them moving around and bouncing around,” Kallweit said. “I knew they had a lot of energy. It was a good possibility that they were probably not going to get separated by themselves.”

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Kallweit said tranquillizing the animals crossed his mind, but he said that could have meant a deadly outcome.

“You run the risk of having one immobilized deer while the other one still full of life,” he said. “Being the only officer on scene, that was a limiting option.”

Kallweit grabbed his 12 gauge shotgun, which was loaded with slugs.

His first and only shot hit the antlers of one of the deer, which separated them.

“It was the most unbelievable thing you’ve ever seen,” Wright said. “Scott was terrific and very professional. [He] made a beautiful shot, freed the deer and they live to see another day.”

READ MORE: B.C. conservation officers rescue deer entangled by toboggan: ‘Thankfully it was not injured’

Kallweit said it was the best possible outcome.

“As an officer, we do enjoy seeing these animals run free and we hope for the best that they survived,” Kallweit said.

He has the piece of antler he shot off and said since deer are losing their antlers this time of year, it won’t mean any long-term damage for the animal.

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“[Deer] naturally regrow these antlers starting again in the spring anyway so it’s something they go through every year,” Kallweit said.

Wright said it is great to know the deer get a second chance.

“These deer have been hunted for the last couple of months. They made it through the season,” Wright said. “What [Kallweit] did was let them… live again.”

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