FREDERICKTOWN — A young buck owes his life to the Fredericktown Fire Department. It somehow got onto the ice at Knox Lake and was not able to get off. The deer’s plight was discovered Saturday afternoon by Jim Wagner who lives on Hilltop Drive overlooking the north side of the lake.
Wagner called Game Protector Mike Miller who was unable to help the deer. Miller called Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast and asked whether firefighters might be able to save the animal. Mast called together a dozen firefighters for the rescue effort.
Mast said they have a flat-bottom boat for just such a predicament. The approach to the lake from Wagner’s residence is down a steep brush-covered hill. They slid the boat down the hill into the lake, which was open water at that point. Then two firefighters dressed in water survival suits, one in the water and one on the ice approached the deer that was lying down in the snow.
Crawling on the thin ice, Adam Schlosser approached the deer with a rope, intent on lassoing it, although rescuers had no idea of the condition of the deer. As Schlosser approached it, the deer jumped up and staggered a few feet in the deep snow.
With the deer worn out from the struggle, Schlosser was able to get close enough to put a rope around the animal. They moved the deer across the snow covered ice to the open water, guided it through to water to the lake bank, removed the rope and it scampered away.
Chief Mast said the rescue took about an hour. He added this is not the first water rescue for his department. A couple of years ago a team rescued a beagle from the Kokosing River at the Bryant and Lucerne roads intersection.