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Helicopter Rescues Deer Stranded On Ice By Blowing Animal To Safety (VIDEO)

02/28/2013 01:56 pm ET

When a deer became stranded in the middle of an iced-over Canadian harbor, officers from Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) came to the rescue, though it was no easy feat.

The ice covering Antigonish Harbour was too thin to for a DNR team to risk walking across. Instead, helicopter pilot Dave Farrell devised a clever way to rescue the deer by using the aircraft's rotors the literally blow the deer to safety.

Ian Waugh, who reported the helpless doe to the DNR, captured footage of the amazing helicopter rescue from his window and posted the clip to YouTube on Feb. 27.

"I thought they were going to do something entirely different," Waugh told CTV News. "As the video shows, they actually did something pretty elegant ... and it worked."

In the video, the helicopter swoops in close to the deer and hovers several feet above the ice. Speaking to CBC News, Farrell said he used the aircraft's downwash -- the air forced down by the helicopter's rotors -- to gain enough momentum to slide the deer across the ice.

Farrell, who has employed this technique to rescue stranded deer in the past, explained to CBC News that deer are generally cooperative during the process: "Once they realize that they're moving, they kind of just flatten out and they don't struggle too much. I think it's a lot less stressful for the animal, just to relax and let the downward motion push them across the ice."

After Farrell blew the deer toward the shore, two men on the ground pulled the animal to safety. Waugh told CTV News that the next day he spotted the mother reunited with her fawn, which had been able to make it off the ice on its own.

In winter, frozen bodies of water frequently maroon deer that attempt to walk over the ice. As seen in the video (above), deer can become stranded after struggling to move across the slick surface. The struggle can weaken the animals to the point that natural resources officers must be called in to help. Since helicopter rescues are not always an option, rescue teams have used other techniques to save trapped deer, from lassos to inflatable rafts.

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