Stag in vegetable field

May 12, 2012

Stag in vegetable field

In Golden Week, early May, a young stag eyed the newly planted vegetable patch in a neighbour’s field. The plants looked tasty so he decided to get over the fence. Unfortunately for him, the loose nylon net fence that the farmer had put around his field to deter invaders like him, got tangled up in his antlers. The more he panicked and pulled, the more entangled he became. Of course when he saw us coming, he panicked even more and we could see that one antler had been torn off and there was blood streaming down his face.

There is an endless battle with wild life around here. Farmers want to protect their crops from them while the wild animals; boar, deer, raccoons, foxes, rabbits can do a lot of damage. Boars especially love to wallow in soft paddy fields where worms are abundant. But boars can’t jump, so can be deterred by a low metal fence, deer on the other hand can jump over a six foot fence. Many farmers use electric fencing but those who want a fence on the cheap, use nylon nets; these can easily entangle any animal that tries to go through them, not only deer and other wild life but we had in the past to cut a dog free. Animals die a slow lingering death if they are not found and released or usually if a farmer finds them, he will summon hunters to shoot them or kill them by horrible methods himself.

There was no way we could safely get to this strong and panicky deer to remove the net mass around his head and neck. Although most veterinary hospitals are closed at this holiday time, we were fortunate to find a vet nearby who agreed on his day off, to come and tranquillise the animal. Impossible to get near enough for a usual injection, he loaded the syringe into a long blow-pipe and could finally give him a number of shots. Finally when the stag fell asleep, we could go in to assess the damage. One antler was broken, and the other was damaged, his legs had cuts but were not broken. We disinfected the wounds as best we could.

We carried the still comatose deer to an open piece of ground, and the vet gave him a counter injection to wake him up. With ten minutes, he woke up although very woozy. We watched him gradually get to his feet and slowly head towards the mountain where he and his friends live. Hopefully that experience will make him more cautious of net fences and that field in particular, in the future.