Residents save "bagged" deer

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
February 25th, 2015

A Grand Forks deer is luckier than most, after being spotted with a bag fixed to her head. The deer was first spotted in the Ruckle area of the city on Saturday night around 5:30 p.m. with a bag tightly wrapped around her head.  

At first, residents tried to rally the authorities, with no immediate results. By Sunday morning, concern was growing because the deer was still wandering the community with the bag adhered to its head.

“It was on tight like a bathing cap,” said Lorraine Dick, said of the bag, which she identified as a seed bag made from heavy plastic. “She was showing signs of distress.”

Dick started gathering volunteers around 6 a.m. via Facebook and networking. They were unsure where the deer had gone during the night, so had to find her before they took any further action.

Mike Skrotzki got word to the group that the deer was around the 6500 block on Como Street. A group gathered, managing to corner her in a V-shaped area with plenty of obstacles around to help keep her contained.

Colette Orr came out with her children and managed to pinch the bags several time with a pair of grabbers, the kind used to pluck things off of high shelves.

“The plastic bag was so tight,” said Dick. “She got so close to the agitated deer. She grabbed twice and couldn’t pull it off. That’s when we knew we had to escalate (our plans).”

Orr’s 14-year-old son Aezia (Ez) stepped up to the plate and lassoed the deer. They managed to hold her still long enough to get close and get the bag off.

“He was so quick,” said Dick. “I wished someone had taken a video but we were too busy taking care of the deer and each other.”

Once the deer was free, Dave Atchinson helped Ez take the lasso off the deer, which proved to be another feat.

“She flailed and banged,” said Dick, adding that eventually the deer seemed to give up and laid down.

Once she was free, the group made a path and let her go. She took off.

“We parted ways so that she could run free. Her nose was wet,” said Dick, adding that must be because of the humidity inside the plastic bag and salivating.

While the event was stressful for the deer, Dick said that in the end it was a great show of community spirit.

“It was fun. It was fun, because we had a good outcome,” she said.

“(It was) a better ending than we had hoped,” said Natasha Verigin who joined the group to help free the deer. “We just wanted to help, and we all did a group thing to make it happen! Very proud of this community!”

Dick said that there had been some naysayers in the community either on social media or in person. They felt that it was natural selection and the deer got herself into the situation so she should get herself out. But Dick says, no, people left that bag out and it is their responsibility to fix the mess.

Volunteers that helped corner and rescue the deer include, Lorraine Dick, Colette and Ez Orr, Mike Skrotzki, Natasha Verigin, Amanda Neddo, Tom Howse, Karen Head, Dave Atchinson, and two men who were walking by and came over to join the group. 

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