Huge stag tangled in fencing rescued from river

Huge stag tangled in fencing rescued from river

A huge red stag needed help after getting tangled in wire fencing and falling into a river in Cumbria.

Our officers Martyn Fletcher, Nick Green and Chris Towler went to the River Lyne, in Longtown, near Carlisle, on Tuesday afternoon after a farmer working nearby spotted the stag stuck in the water who had barbed wire fencing tangled around his antlers.

Stag caught in netting © RSPCA

Martyn said:

"The deer was huge, around 150kg, and was the same size as a small cow. He was extremely distressed and very lively, thrashing around trying to free himself.

"He had barbed wire, netting, other fencing and three large wooden posts tangled around his antlers and dragging from his head."

The officers called a local vet and the stag was tranquilised. The farmer helped and all five of them managed to haul the deer out of the water and onto the river bank.

Martyn said:

By this time, it was dark so that added to the tricky rescue. We started to remove the netting, wood and wire, and once he was free, we used the farmer's tractor to move him away from the river bank. We didn't want him to panic and run back into the water!

He added:

"We monitored him from nearby and once he'd regained consciousness he got back onto his feet and, despite being a little wobbly to start with, then started to wander off into the darkness.

Stag at night © RSPCA

"Once we'd removed all of the detritus we could see he had 12 points on his antlers, indicating his age at around six or seven. Local people say red deer are rare in the area and that this stag had been spotted over recent weeks with some rope or fencing tangled in his antlers.

"It was a tough rescue in the darkness and in cold, wet, muddy conditions. But to see such a beautiful, powerful animal in the prime of his life finally free and released back into the wild was extremely rewarding."

We're often called out to rescue animals who have got trapped or tangled in netting and fencing. We urge people to pack netting away when not in use and to ensure fencing is intact and can't get caught around a wild animal's legs or antlers, like this poor deer.