Facebook Post Leads to Volunteers Rescuing Deer

Posted at: 12/02/2013 10:54 PM
Updated at: 12/02/2013 10:58 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Over the weekend, ABC 6 News posted a picture of a deer stranded on Albert Lea Lake to our Facebook page.

The photo received an overwhelming response with people wondering why nobody was trying to help the deer that had been stuck on the ice for days.

But shortly after we posted that picture somebody did step forward, and on Monday they ventured out onto the lake where they rescued not one but three deer.

After following the Facebook posts throughout the weekend, Doug and James Kenison said they knew they had to do something.

“We decided this morning that we'll go out there and see if we can find it and kind of report back to the people that were making all the posts,” James Kenison said.

The owners of Medcity Hovercraft, the pair took two hovercrafts out on the partially frozen lake and soon found three deer stranded more than a quarter mile from shore.

“They weren't actually stuck in the ice, it was just so slippery that they just couldn't get their footing,” James said. “It looked like one of the deer actually came closer to us. It just seemed like he knew we were there to help."

The father and son team quickly came up with a plan.

“We just tied some rope to the deer the best way that we could without hurting them and we ended up just dragging them to the nearest shoreline,” James said. “At that point you could tell the deer were really exhausted. They'd been out there a couple days."

One of the deer ran off quickly while the others struggled to regain their strength.

But the Kenisons said the rescue was only made possible because of their versatile hovercrafts, which can travel on land, water, and of course, ice.

“They're a good tool, especially in situations like this where the ice, you're just not sure if it's thick enough,” James said. “We basically had the equipment so we just said why not?"

Taking the daring rescue in stride, the Kenisons said they were just happy to help.

“There’s definitely people out there that their hearts were going out to these deer,” James said. “And just knowing that I have a hovercraft and it would take me nothing to get out there, I just felt like I can't do nothing."

Medcity Hovercraft offers tours and training on the vehicles, and Doug Kenison actually helped rescue a dog from a frozen lake a couple years ago.

James and Doug said they've been in talks with the city of Albert Lea about how their vehicles could potentially be used in other emergency situations in the future.

You can view an extended video of the rescue on our Facebook page.