Four Deer Rescued from Alaskan Waters by Boater-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:


This is a story, with photos, about a boater’s account of an amazing rescue of four near hypothermic Sitka buck tail deer from the rough and chilly waters of Alaska.

The Truth:

This story is true according to an October 8, 2010 article in the Juneau Empire.

Tom Satre is the captain of his 62-foot charter vessel the Alaska Quest based in Taku Harbor, Alaska. The article said that on October 2, 2010 Satre and his family were cruising about 25 miles south of Juneau for a Sunday luncheon when his daughter, Kelly, spotted 4 Sitka black tailed deer in the water.   The wind was blowing particularly hard that day and the chilly waters were churning with white caps.

“They swam right toward the boat,” Satre told reporters. “Then, they started to circle the boat. They were looking up and looked like they needed help.”   He added that the deer were foaming at the mouth an indication to him that something was wrong.  Neither he nor his family had ever seen deer in so much distress.  The boat was equipped with a swim step but instead of climbing onto it the deer swam under it.

Getting the exhausted deer on to the boat was going to be a challenge.  Satre said that he was able to get them on to the swim step by lassoing each deer and “one by one, hauled them by the neck onto the back of the boat.”

The article said that after the boat returned to the dock at Taku Harbour three of the deer got off the boat on their own and disappeared into the nearby forest.  One deer was was still too week so it was helped off the boat by Satre by means of a dock cart and was taken to a warming area so that it could be treated for hypothermia.  After a short time it made a full recovery.

updated 1/24/12

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Some fishing stories are a little hard to believe
But this guy has pictures to prove his story…

I’ve heard of salmon jumping into boats, but never anything quite like this.
Tom Satre told the Sitka Gazette that he was out with a charter group on his 62-foot fishing vessel when four juvenile black-tailed deer swam directly toward his boat.

“Once the deer reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at us. We could tell right away that the young bucks were distressed. I opened up my back gate and we helped the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals onto the boat. In all my years fishing, I’ve never seen anything quite like it!   Once onboard, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.”

“This is a picture I took of the rescued bucks on the back of my boat, the Alaska Quest.

We headed for Taku Harbour. Once we reached the dock, the first buck that we had been pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back as if to say ‘thank you’ and disappeared into the forest. After a bit of prodding and assistance, two more followed, but the smallest deer needed a little more help.

This is me carrying the little guy.

My daughter, Anna, and son, Tim, helped the last buck to its feet. We didn’t know how long they had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive. My daughter later told me that the experience was something that she would never forget, and I suspect the deer felt the same way as well!”
I told you! Awesome… huh?

Our Lord works in mysterious way…