It was a colder day than Jared Maitino and his brother-in-law thought it would be. They set off last week to their favorite fishing spot on the Chagrin River in Eastlake, hoping to find flowing water due to the warm days prior, but instead being faced with ice.
“We noticed it was frozen over. We didn’t think it would be frozen over, because we had a few warm days, and we looked down and we’re like ‘we can’t fish’. As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that there was a deer that broke through the ice, and it was struggling to get out of the water.”
The deer, which appears to be a mature doe, had hit a thin patch while crossing the water and gotten its hind quarters stuck beneath the ice. Quickly springing into action, Jared went back to his truck to grab some ratchet straps before heading back to the water. He was already wearing his GoPro camera, which he says he wears “all the time” while fishing.
“I have a chest pack so whenever I hook a fish, I turn it on,” he said. “I thought if I’m going to go down there and save this thing, I might as well get it on film.”
With the camera rolling, Jared and his brother-in-law set to work to free the deer by making a lasso out of the ratchet straps.
“When I initially tossed it, it didn’t make it around both ears like I thought it would so I just kind of pulled it a little bit tighter. It cinched up and as it cinched up, I noticed that I could actually get a good pull on the deer and I just started pulling,” he said.
Thanks to his quick thinking, the deer was able to free itself from being lodged in the ice and jumped back onto shore before disappearing into the woods. Many of Jared’s friends are calling him a ‘hero,’
“I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “Everybody keeps saying you’re a hero, but if I would have saved a human then I thought maybe I’d be more of a hero, but it was still cool though.”
As deer continue to weather the winter, it’s important to keep an eye out on area lakes and waterways to look for downed game. If you see a downed animal, do not hesitate to call your state’s Wildlife Management Department.
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Do you ever film your hunting or fishing trips? What would you have done in this situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.