The deer, seen in this photo taken by resident Matt Collins, was trapped in the cold water of the chute.
ADAMS, Mass. — It was a team effort for state Fish and Wildlife, Adams animal control and Adams Police who rescued a lost doe from the flood control chute on Friday.
It was a tense afternoon for Animal Control Officer Kim Witek, who rushed to the Winter Street flood chutes on her day off after photos of a doe struggling through the rushing waters surfaced on Facebook.
"We must have been following it for a mile," Witek said. "It does look OK though there is some hair missing but that is all I can see .... it must be freezing."
Witek called the Environmental Police Office and was told because the doe appeared to be fine, to leave it alone, keep it away from people and allow it to find its way out.
"There is not a lot they can do," she said. "I don't know how it is going to get out though."
The deer is believed to have entered the flood chute near Aladco on Commercial Street. It continued its trek against the rushing cold water until it came upon a flood chute access point behind the Myrtle Street Apartments. It ran up the ramp, enclosed by a fence, away from the water to ground level.
Witek's first thought was to try to get the gate open and coax the deer out of the flood chute.
"At least it is out of the water and that is what we want," she said. "If we can get it out of there we can work on getting it out of the downtown."
While waiting for the Department of Public Works to bring keys to the locked gate, the doe made its move and hid behind a metal structure on the very edge of the flood chute.
Thankfully, when the situation seemed most dire, a MassWildlife representative showed up and assessed the situation.
MassWildlife's Western District biologist Nate Buckhout asked Witek to call the Police Department to monitor Myrtle street traffic. The plan was still to coax the doe out of the flood chute.
However, the deer was not moving and Buckhout said because it was so close to the edge of the chute, coaxing it to strongly could cause the doe to jolt the wrong way.
"We don't want it to jump off," he said. "It is a precarious spot. A lot of time we can just let them go on their own, but this is not a great area for that."
Buckhout said the other option would be to tranquilize the doe, however, this too could also send the doe into the flood chute.
"The initial dart causes the animal to move," he said. "It stings, and we don't want it jumping. It's a matter of getting the drug into it if we can. We don't want it to fall over the edge."
He added that the dart itself could be fatal if the doe is worked up. If its heart rate is up, the tranquilizer could send it into cardiac arrest.
Buckhout asked everyone to back off and let the deer calm down.
After a few minutes, Western District Manager Andrew Madden and an Adams Police officer slowly approached the doe to see how close it would let them get. The doe appeared to be exhausted and was not moving.
Buckhout and Madden decided it was time to try the tranquilizer gun.
Madden slowly approached the doe and lined up the tricky shot through a fence.
The first shot missed.
Thankfully the doe was not startled, and Madden was able to line up the second shot. After the puff of air from the gun, Madden gave the small group of onlookers forming around the access point the thumbs up.
Buckhout and Madden lifted the doe into the sled and pulled it to safety.
Buckhout said there are few places in the state that will rehabilitate an adult doe and if it is injured to a point where they just can't let it loose they will, unfortunately, have to put it down.
Madden said they will take the doe to the woods and assess its injuries.
"She's a little beat up especially her back leg but it doesn't look broken," he said. "We will clean her up, see how it looks, and hopefully we can give her the benefit of the doubt."