Not the actual deer in question. (Photo courtesy of Amy Miller)
Animal encounters come in all shapes and sizes, but this is the incredible tale of a basement, a deer that has run amok and two conservation officers who engaged in an epic tag-team wrestling match to subdue it.
The scene played out in a Duluth area home when a deer broke through a window and got trapped in the basement, which set the owners into a panic. Just like the young doe.
Minnesota Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan, along with Leah Kampa, a conservation officer in training who had been tagging along with Duncan, came to the rescue.
“We sort of laughed at first,” Duncan told the Duluth News-Tribune about the call that came over the radio on November 20. “Then we started getting other officers coming on the radio offering advice, while laughing of course, telling us to make sure to get video.”
They didn’t get video, or even so much as a picture. You can blame the sheer chaos that ensued.
Upon their arrival, it was clear that the young doe had been doing its best to get out, completely trashing the basement in the process.
“I guess they don’t have stairs in the wild,” Duncan told the Star Tribune, noting that there was no way for the doe to get out of the window it came through.
While the doe — which was an estimated 120 pounds — couldn’t figure out how to use stairs, it did figure out how to open and close doors during the ruckus. The homeowners had managed to corral it into the laundry room, but it kept getting out by hitting the latch.
When Duncan and Kampa arrived, the animal had returned to the laundry room and with it cornered, the officers saw their moment to sweep in and save the day. It went about as well as you’d expect.
“I went in there and it just went nuts,” Duncan said. “It tried to jump out those little basement windows up high, but just bounced off the walls. It was smashing into everything. Not bumping into them; smashing into things. Eventually it ended up upside down in the laundry tub, its legs flailing in the air.”
There was a bear hug — or should we say deer hug — from Duncan.
They tried to create a corridor by lining up furniture to funnel it up the stairs.
Duncan tried to tackle it.
“I’m yelling for (Kampa) and the deer is bellowing … blahhhhhh! It was a mess,’’ Duncan said. “It jumped on top of the pool table where it was slipping pretty bad, trying to get traction.’’
They eventually were able to win this tag-team match with a one-arm tackle from Duncan while he also draped an area rug over the animal. Kampa saved the day by tying up the doe’s legs.
With the fight finally over, Kampa and Duncan wrestled it up the stairs and with no visible injuries other than a small amount of blood, released it outside where “it just bolted out through the yard and was gone.”
It’s a day Duncan won’t forget anytime soon.
“I was physically exhausted. To the point of almost throwing up,” he said. “It was a heck of a fight.”