Two conservation officers were forced into a marathon tag-team wrestling match with a deer that broke through a window of a Duluth area home and got trapped in the basement, where it desperately fought to find a way out.
The young doe jumped on the washing machine and dryer, flopped into the laundry tub and pranced on the homeowner’s pool table during the ordeal.
The initial goal was to get the deer to run through a makeshift furniture causeway up the stairs and out the door. That didn’t work.
“I guess deer don’t have stairs in the wild,” officer Kipp Duncan recalled Tuesday. The officers finally tackled the panic-stricken deer, wrapped it in a rug and hoisted it outside to freedom.
“I was so physically exhausted I thought I was going to throw up,” Duncan said of last Tuesday’s 30-minute battle.
Duncan, a game warden for more than 18 years, was working alongside officer-candidate Leah Kampa, who is in the final stage of her field training to join the DNR enforcement ranks. They were patrolling north of Duluth when a late-afternoon call came in that a deer had charged through a ground-level window into the basement.
Duncan said the husband and wife were home and had seen the deer feeding in their yard.
No one knows why it rammed the glass, but Duncan guessed it might have seen its reflection or was startled.
The deer was trying to kick its way out of the laundry room, which also contained the home’s furnace.
After the furniture pathway and tackles failed, Duncan restrained the animal with one arm and reached for a large area rug with the other. He draped it over the deer and Kampa “saved the day” by helping to tie up the animal’s legs, he said.
They fumbled the wrapped-up deer on the way up to the home’s main level. Once they got it outside, they unstrapped the deer’s legs, and noticed a little blood. But the deer did not appear to be seriously injured.
“It jumped right up and took off running like nothing happened,” Duncan said.
The officer said he wasn’t armed with a tranquilizer and never reached for his Taser to subdue the deer.
Five days after the struggle he checked back with the homeowners.
They reported that the basement fared pretty well.