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Stag Rescue by NDAA in North Devon

It was only two hours into relief ambulance driver Barry Everington’s Wednesday shift on the NDAA’s animal ambulance when the call came from the RSPCA’s Control Centre. It was for a young stag trapped in wire in the Sterridge Valley at Berrynarbor.

A call from Barry and Kay to Diana to advise on rescue and they were told to proceed to the very isolated location and assess whether the deer was injured. In the case of injury they were to call out a vet, or if just badly trapped try to release using the bolt croppers in the ambulance, but to take great care as deer, even without antlers, can inflict terrible injuries with hooves and kicks.

Upon arrival Mr Gilby from Berrynarbor was waiting to escort them to the location up in the forest, a 20 minute walk and steep climb up a 30ft bank to where the deer was located. To say the job in hand was difficult is certainly an understatement. Far from being injured, the stag was extremely angry and very active whilst being totally trapped by the head and antlers in a broken wire fence with barbed wire on top, plus broken electric fencing tape, plus huge roots of a tree. In addition to this each time he struggled an uprooted fence post hit him on the haunches sending him into further fury.

Barry, who has 23 years in the Metropolitan Police Force behind him and is currently an active Coastguard at Westward Ho!, calmly worked away at the wire and roots clipping one bit at a time and nimbly dodging the stag’s angry lunges, always making sure that there was no chance of him escaping with any of the wire still attached and endangering himself further.

It was a long and delicate process, but the stag finally was clipped free and without a single backward glance or thank you tore off into the woods free once again.

Kay stepped out from behind her tree complete with photos and Mr Gilby, the gentleman who came across the stag whilst dog walking, felt a worthwhile rescue had been completed. And I know my total confidence in Barry and Kay was justified and all was as I had expected.

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