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(CANYON, Minn.) — A combination of modern technology and a centuries-old tool — Facebook and a canoe — were all a Minnesota hunter needed to rescue a deer from an icy lake.

Jeff Slygh, of Canyon, Minn., was home Sunday morning working on his yard while his wife, Carol, was inside on the computer. As Carol Slygh browsed Facebook, she saw a posting from a neighbor who said a deer had crashed through the ice of frozen-over Lake Nichols and was stuck.

“Carol hollered to me so I said, ‘Tell her I’m going to load up my canoe and come over,’” Slygh, 61, told ABC News.

Slygh, who has lived near the lake for 35 years, parked his car at a nearby dock and loaded his canoe in the lake, pushing it from behind until about 100 feet in when the ice broke and he had to climb in and paddle.

The deer, a doe that Slygh estimates was one to two years old and weighed around 120 pounds, was about 600 yards into the lake, “thrashing,” according to Slygh, in an eight to ten feet ring of water.

“I tapped her on the side of her face with a PVC pipe I’d brought and turned her so that she’d turn and swim in the channel I’d broken,” Slygh said.  “She swam about one-third of the way in and then got tired.”

Slygh then grabbed the deer’s ear and back in order to heave her up into the canoe.

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“She laid on her side [in the canoe] for a second and then sat up on her belly,” Slygh said.  “She kept looking at the shore and never kicked or anything the whole way in.”

Once on shore, the deer hopped out of the canoe but appeared to be spooked by the crowd of a half-dozen or so onlookers who had gathered to watch the rescue.

“She ran into the cattails and stood there,” Slygh said. “I left because I was cold and told one of the neighbors to watch her and he said about an hour later she took off.”

Slygh says the rescue, which took about one hour total in 20-degree weather, is the first time he’s ever been called to pull a deer out of the water, but it’s not the first time he’s come to the rescue of a four-legged creature.

“I rescued a black lab one time, and with the same canoe,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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