Rescuers Kathy, Chris and I were called out last week just after 9am to a Fallow Buck with an antler entangled in rope.  The blue rope has been used as a guy rope with a stake in the ground to hold the tree in place. The branches of the tree were coming down to ground level all around the deer making our approach very difficult and more dangerous.

We erected a specialist net called a “walk-towards” net around one side to try and restrict the deer’s movement but it was clear the net was going to be much help on this occasion. We normally use these nets to entangle and gain better control over the deer to help with capture.

At first we thought we might have to do a ‘leg-grab’ to pull the deer to the floor in order to gain control, but luckily the deer tripped up landing on the ground giving Chris an opportunity to jump onto the shoulders and pin the deer to the floor. I quickly joined him taking control of the deer. Leaving Kathy to start cutting the rope.

We had the usual 30 minutes in these circumstances from the point of capturing the deer to releasing or the deer could suffer internal injuries or have a heart attack. On this occasion, due to speed and the few strands of rope round the antler, the rescue took no more than 4 minutes.

We were very lucky that there was only a small amount of rope entangled on the antler, but where it had twisted round and round it made it very difficult to cut through.

Once the deer was cut free and the walk-towards net removed, it was time to release the deer. This can be just as dangerous as the capture if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t communicate with your fellow rescuers. Chris was on the shoulders so it came down to him to control the release.  Kathy stood clear, and after deciding which way Chris and I were jumping on release, it was a case of 3,2,1 and release. I’m glad I didn’t have to move out the way too far as my is wellington boot became stuck in the mud and ended up leaving that behind.

The deer ran off across the field through the hedgehog and into a woodland where it quickly disappeared.  It always makes me wonder if the deer thinks it has escaped from us or whether it knows we have released it.

We are in the process of undertaking more work at our Casualty Centre before it gets too busy in the spring and summer months. We are trying to improve our current indoor pens as well as creating a new indoor exercise area, new microscope and laboratory area, installing new isolation cages and finishing off our veterinary theatre.  It’s all costing quite a bit of money totalling over £20,000 once all complete.  A big thank you to our volunteers for helping with painting and DIY work around the centre as this has really helped to keep the cost down.

Thursday last week turned into a fairly busy day with 11 call-outs.  Student Emma and I drove to South Chailey to pick up a moorhen. The finders had picked it up the previous day after finding it on the busy main round through South Chailey.  They took it home and kept it in a box and thought they might be able to release it at a near by pond, but then when they looked more closely started to think it wouldn’t survive so left the bird dark and quiet thinking it would die overnight.  Luckily a neighbour pointed them in our direction the following day and we were able to go across and rescue the poor bird.  We are currently treating him for a fractured leg and is now on pain relief and antibiotics.  We hope he will make a full recovery.

Last Thursday also saw us deal with a call out to a limping fox thought to be trapped in a garden in Eastbourne. On arrival we looked around the garden and couldn’t find any fox, and then noticed one asleep on the neighbours garden shed. It did have a limp but nothing serious.  There were also calls to four wood pigeons, two Herring gulls, a squirrel and a guillemot.

We have also had a number of garden birds in care this week including a lovely goldfinch from Blackboys which was rather disorientated, but after some TLC by our care team he was but on his feet and fine, so released the following day.  We have had a couple of robins in too. One was a collision with a window and found in Hampden Park. They took were very quick turn arounds and have already been released again.



Trevor Weeks MBE

Founder & Operations Director


East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)

Reg Charity 1108880


Office: 01825-873003

24Hr Rescue Line: 07815-078234

Trevor’s Private Mobile: 07931-523958



Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.