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Conservation officer cuts buck free from rope in Duluth's Piedmont neighborhood

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A still capture from a video shows Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Kipp Duncan working to free a deer tangled in a rope. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Edson)2 / 2

Lindsey Edson was running with her dog, Winnie, Tuesday afternoon on the ski trails in Duluth's Piedmont neighborhood when she came across what looked like a deer tied to a tree.

The deer was on a thick red rope and was trying to get away, unsuccessfully.

"I called 911 and they gave me the game warden's' number to call and he came right out,'' Edson told the News Tribune.

Minnesota Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan arrived within 30 minutes. Edson said the deer was calm when they approached but then went "nuts" as they got closer. She took video that shows a very excited deer.

"The initial report was that the deer was tied to a tree, which sounded odd. But it turned out that one end of the rope was wrapped around the antler and the other end had a knot on it that was stuck" in a V in the tree, Duncan said.

Duncan used a special wildlife immobilizing pole, with a snare on one end, to hold the animal in place while he got close enough to cut the rope in several places. Only a few short pieces remained around the antler that likely fell off the buck when it bolted away, Duncan said.

The buck had four points on one side but none on the other. Duncan speculated that the rope may have been stuck around both sides of the rack and that one side broke off.

"He looked fine. He was missing one side of his rack but he was moving fast," Duncan said. "It was a substantial rope, like from hammock or rope swing. ... Maybe 20 feet long."

Edson praised Duncan as "a hero'' for saving the deer.

"I'm just glad it worked out so well. He did a great job," she said of the warden.

The rescue happened about 2 p.m.

It's not even Duncan's first deer rescue of the season. A few weeks ago he rescued another buck in Hermantown that had become ensnared in what appeared to be a hammock.

"That deer kept circling the tree. He had a lot of rope to work with and I didn't know how to get close to him," Duncan said. "So I climbed the tree and pulled the buck up to me so I could cut the rope off at the antlers. That one took off, too."

In both cases this year the deer fared better than a buck in 2015 whose antlers became tangled in a full-size rope hammock or laundry line in Duluth's Woodland neighborhood. The mess of rope then became stuck on a boat trailer. The buck, at one point, was photographed walking backward while towing the boat and trailer through several backyards.

That buck eventually freed itself from the boat trailer but, with the rope still dangling from its antlers, was shot by an archer who said he felt sorry for the animal which was exhausted from being stuck for so long.

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