A northwestern Wisconsin man rescued three newly born fawns from a highway as their mother lay dead nearby after being hit by a car.
The pregnant doe was hit Friday evening south of Wheeler in Dunn County, setting the rescue of the spotted newborns in motion, according to the Sheriff's Office and the people who helped.
Tasia Kelley, of nearby Boyceville, Wis., said she was heading home on northbound Hwy. 25 and hit the doe. "I never saw her coming," she said.
Kelley said the doe landed in the ditch and her fawns ended up on the highway.
Dustin Eckert, who lives nearby, ran out when he heard the commotion. As he dodged traffic, he first saw the doe in the ditch and then looked to the highway, where "I could see eyes on the road. I got closer and closer. Then I happened to hear bleats. I saw one baby deer in the middle of the road and the other two off to the shoulder."
"It was a miracle they weren't hurt. ... Only one of them had a little bit of road rash," said Eckert, 32.
Eckert's wife, Caillie, arrived with towels and brought the swaddled newborns back to their home, where she and Kelley fed the fawns a farm animal milk supplement using bottles normally meant for kittens.
Deputies arrived, and the fawns were taken back to the Sheriff's Office before being moved to Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release in Colfax, Wis.
Patti Stangel, who runs the rehab center, said Sunday afternoon that the one female and two male fawns are doing "fantastic."
Stangel said one has a bandage around an injured ankle, but the three otherwise came away unscathed. The trio will be cared for until around Labor Day before being set free.
"It's amazing to have all three of them make it," said Kelley, 29, an avid angler and deer hunter.
Even though she lives on a hobby farm with goats and pigs, Kelley said she has no designs on raising the fawns herself. "They'll have to go back in the wild," she said.
Dustin Eckert also is a deer hunter, but he acknowledged having a soft spot for baby animals.
"As I walked up the drive with them," he recalled, "I thought, 'I don't know if I can hunt deer anymore.' This [experience] takes a different turn on things for you."