Ridgewood Deer Rescue 23rd Aug 2015 (2)


VIDEO take using a head camera: http://wildlifeambulance.org/deer-caught-in-fence-rescued-near-uckfield/


PHOTOS: Taken from video.


Volunteer rescuers  were called out to a dangerous deer rescue on the bank of Ridgewood Stream, Uckfield on Sunday morning.  A male fallow deer had camouflage netting attached to his antlers  which had become entangled in a barbed wire fence.   The deer was spotted by the landowner who was walking the boundary checking the fences when she found the deer and called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)  for help.


Two of the charities ambulances, and volunteer rescuers Trevor Weeks MBE and Kathy Martyn from Uckfield, Daryl Farmer from Forest Row and Chris Riddington from Eastbourne attended on site.  The rescue was in an awkward location and rescuers had to attempt a rescue on the steep embankment of the stream as well as cope with a barbed wire fence, and lots of vegetation and waist deep water in the stream.


“It was clear early on that an approach with our specialist deer net was not going to work as we were working in too tight a space.  The deer kept slipping down the embankment of the stream and this was going to be the easiest and safest time to secure the deer. You could see in the deer’s eyes how frightened he was” explained Trevor Weeks WRAS founder who has been undertaking deer rescue work for over 15 years now.


“Trevor managed to throw a blanket over the deer’s head  to help reduce the stress to the deer before climbing into the stream. We kept our distance whilst Trevor picked his moment to grab the rear legs of the deer pulling the deer flat to the floor. This was my que to move in and secure the front of the deer. Our hearts were in our mouths thumping away hoping this was going to work.  I climbed onto the shoulders so the deer could not move or pose a risk to Daryl and Kathy as they cut the netting from around the antlers” said Rescuer Chris.


“It was very frustrating trying to cut the netting as it was so tight around the antlers” said Daryl, “Kathy and I struggled to get scissors under the netting to cut it, but we kept working away and after a few minutes the netting came away. We were so pleased it only too about 5 minutes to cut, as the location was very precarious. Kathy and I backed off leaving Trevor and Chris to assess the deer and to work out the their escape and release of the deer.”

Ridgewood Deer Rescue 23rd Aug 2015 (1)

“I’ve been helping Trevor with deer rescues for the past 8 years now, and this has to be one of the worse locations to attempt a rescue so far.  Chris, Trevor and the deer had very limited escape routes and I was worried for them how they were going to release the deer safely.  It would have been very difficult and dangerous to attempt to move the deer up the embankment or to a better location before release so they had no choice but to release on the embankment” said Kathy.


Chris and Trevor quickly planned their escape and together jumped clear in the same direction leaving the deer to slid the short distance into the stream before getting its bearings.


“Apart from a few scratches to the deer there were luckily no serious injuries. For a moment we were worried the deer was struggling to get out the water, but it clearly just needed a few seconds to get its bearings and realise he was free and no longer trapped.  It took a short while for the deer to climb out of the stream and walk up the opposite embankment and into the field. I crossed the stream and entered the field just in time to see the deer sprinting off into the neighbouring field to freedom” said Trevor.


WRAS is urging people who find deer with antlers entangled in rope or netting not to just cut them free and release them, as it is likely to cause the deer to become entangled a second time on barbed wire fencing and this time they may not be found and could die a slow and painful death if not found.  “This deer was luckily that the landowner is responsible and checks her fences regularly. If left deer can die of stress or starvation.  Rescuing such casualties is very difficult and are some of the most difficult and dangerous rescues we undertake.  You need to keep the time between capture and release as short as possible to help prevent capture myopathy and prevent the deer from having a heart attack so you have only have a small window of time to get the poor animals free”.


“If anyone find discarded netting, rope, bailer twine  to pick it up and dispose of it where it can’t cause such incidents to occur. This was a very lucky deer to be found, next him he might not be so lucky,” added Trevor.





Ridgewood Deer Rescue 23rd Aug 2015 (3)


Trevor Weeks MBE – 01825-873003 or 07931523958

Chris Riddington – 07946797222

Kathy Martyn – 07931519646