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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Rescue crews wrangled a deer that became stuck in the Highland Park Reservoir on Thursday afternoon.

It all started around 2 p.m., and the deer was finally rescued around 3:40 p.m.

The deer got back on dry land safely, but earlier could be seen trying to stay afloat in the reservoir water. City crews with Animal Control and EMS followed the tired animal in a paddle boat and managed to lasso it around the antlers, and then floated the frightened buck back to land.

“Used our inflatable boat, along with my partner here from Animal Control, and we were able to lasso the deer around his antler and get him safe and secure out of the water,” said Shawn Eigenbrode, the paramedic crew chief with Pittsburgh EMS.


Eigenbrode says they were out paddling for about an hour. It took four or five tries before they snared the wayward deer.

“I only got a single part of the rack, so as soon as he turned his head, it would slide right back off,” Eigenbrode said. “I had to get it looped over the Y, which we ended up doing that, and we were able to secure him and get him out of the water.”

By the end of the ordeal, the rescuers were almost as exhausted as the deer. Animal Control Officer Patrick Corcoran says it’s not the first time a deer has gotten trapped in the reservoir, but this rescue took the longest.

“This is probably the hardest,” he said. “I was out there rowing for about an hour, just was not expecting it at all. It’s a big animal and when we got it close to shore, you really felt the power of him. He thought we were still trying to come after him, he didn’t realize we were just trying to help him. We’re here for the safety of the animal.”

Eigenbrode says it’s “all in a day’s work.”

“Got him out of there safe, we got out of there safe, and he’s off and back out in the woods where he belongs,” Eigenbrode said.

There’s no word yet on how the deer ended up in the water.

Meanwhile, the reservoir is not actively used for drinking water, so there is no concern for contamination to the supply.