Firefighters rescue fawn from icy Lake Wyola

  • Shutesbury firefighter Richard Trimble holds a fawn rescued from the icy waters of Lake Wyola on Monday morning. COURTESY SHUTESBURY ACTING POLICE CHIEF KRISTIN BURGESS

  • State Environmental Police Lt. David Unaitis takes a young male deer to warm it up after Shutesbury firefighters rescued it from the icy waters of Lake Wyola on Monday morning. COURTESY SHUTESBURY POLICE CHIEF KRISTIN BURGESS

  • State Environmental Police Lt. David Unaitis uses a blanket to warm up a young male deer after Shutesbury firefighters rescued it from Lake Wyola on Monday morning. COURTESY SHUTESBURY POLICE CHIEF KRISTIN BURGESS

  • Shutesbury firefighters rescue a young male deer from the icy waters of Lake Wyola on Monday morning. COURTESY SHUTESBURY POLICE CHIEF KRISTIN BURGESS

  • Shutesbury firefighters rescue a young male deer from the icy waters of Lake Wyola on Monday morning. COURTESY SHUTESBURY POLICE CHIEF KRISTIN BURGESS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2021 8:10:29 PM
Modified: 11/29/2021 8:09:58 PM

SHUTESBURY — Firefighters rescued a young deer after it fell through the ice on Lake Wyola on Monday morning.

Shutesbury Fire Chief Walter Tibbetts said someone called Shelburne Control shortly before 7:30 a.m. to report a deer on the frozen lake. Tibbetts told the Greenfield Recorder he went to the scene to evaluate the situation and saw the young male deer fall through the ice, prompting him to dispatch some crew members.

“It was definitely this year’s batch,” Tibbetts said about the youth of the deer. “(It) must of have separated from its mother.”

The chief said his department borrowed a canoe and paddles from a nearby resident, and firefighter Richard Trimble and Lt. Leonard Czerwonka ventured into the lake, using the vessel and paddles to break away ice. Tibbetts said the deer managed to climb onto a piece of ice but was “curled up there, not being able to move.” The chief said the buck slipped back into the frigid water and was trying to get back onto the ice.

“We were really afraid it wasn’t going to make it,” he said.

Tibbetts said the animal got frightened by the rescuers and kept inching away from the men. He estimated the buck was about 150 feet offshore when the rescue began and had reached roughly 450 feet from shore when the firefighters reached him. The chief said Trimble pulled the deer into the canoe and fire engineer Mark Foster used ropes attached to the canoe to help pull the vessel to shore, where state Environmental Police Lt. David Unaitis warmed the deer with a blanket and a hot water bottle.

Tibbetts, who has been the chief since 1995, said his firefighters left the scene following the rescue and Unaitis stopped by the station at roughly 1 p.m. to say the deer had stood on his own power and walked into the woods, presumably to look for his mother.

“It was interesting — not our normal type of rescue, but it went very well though,” said Tibbetts, who mentioned people and dogs that fall into icy water typically work their way toward rescuers, but deer usually do the opposite.




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