A deadeye game warden is being praised for his unorthodox rescue of a trapped deer in Pennsylvania.
Responding to a recent call from an eastern Pennsylvania resident, game warden Ryan Zawada arrived to find a buck stuck in a net by an antler, photos shared in a state game commission social media post show.
How long the buck had been caught, wildlife officials didn’t say. But the vineyard netting at the Berks County property — which appears to have been long enough to touch the ground — was wrapped up tight around the top of the animal’s left antler, and it wasn’t letting go.
Standing before the panicked buck, Zawada weighed his options, according to the post.
Under different circumstances, it might have been possible to tranquilize or “chemically immobilize” the deer, but given the fear and stress it was already under, Zawada worried the chemical option might induce a heart attack.
Getting up close and simply cutting the deer free didn’t seem like a good idea either, too much risk of harm for both man and deer.
Zawada decided on a third option.
He grabbed a shotgun, took a knee, lined up a shot on the tangled antler and fired. The blast severed the antler but seemed to miss its owner entirely.
Freed and afraid, the buck dashed away and bounded out of sight, photos show.
A piece of its antler was still hanging from the tangled net.
Many were impressed by Zawada’s marksmanship, with dozens commenting “amazing shot,” and “that shot is one-in-a-million.”
“Great shot by the officer, as well as the person behind the camera!!,” a comment read.
“Well, the buck’ll be real happy once his ears stop ringing,” read another.
While Zawada’s out-of-the-box plan worked just about perfectly, wildlife officials said there was also a plan D.
“Under these conditions, SGW Zawada was confident he could shoot the antler off and free the deer,” the state game commission said. “On the off chance that SGW Zawada would have missed and shot the deer, the meat would have been donated to local families in need.”