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Hermantown woman solves problem for deer with jar caught on its head

A whitetail doe spent at least four days walking around with a plastic jar stuck on its head near the Hermantown, Minn., home of Janet Murphy. With some help, she found a way to remove the jar from the deer. Photo by Janet Murphy

DULUTH -- Clearly, the whitetail doe in Janet Murphy’s Hermantown yard had a problem. It was looking at the world through a large plastic jar.

The clear jar was caught on the deer’s head, its top just below the animal’s ears. This happened sometime last month, Murphy said. With the jar on its head, it could neither eat nor drink.

“I’m just thankful it could get some air in there,” Murphy said.

Calls to 911 and the Department of Natural Resources turned up no help, Murphy said. Meanwhile, the deer kept hanging around.

“She’s following me and my daughter around my yard,” Murphy said. “She’s not scared of us.”

Finally, Murphy posted her plight on Facebook, and someone suggested she contact Wildwoods, a wildlife rehabilitation organization in Duluth.

Farzad Farr, a volunteer with Wildwoods, went to Murphy’s home armed with a 10-foot catch-pole, a long metal rod that has a cable noose that can be put over an animal’s head and cinched.

Farr reasoned that since the deer was comfortable around Murphy, he would leave the catch-pole with her and see what she could do. The pole was long enough, he figured, that the deer wouldn’t be able to injure Murphy if the capture process got dicey.

About four days had now passed since Murphy had first seen the deer wearing the jar.

“I came home, and it was lying on the edge of the woods,” Murphy said. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll try it.’ I got the catch-pole and started approaching her. She stood up and kind of backed up into some trees. I extended the catch-pole as far as I could. The cable on the catch-pole went around the bucket.”

And the action soon began.

“When I started securing it, she started jumping just like in a rodeo,” Murphy said. “Up in the air and down. Side to side. She got on the ground and started to roll.”

Murphy held fast to the catch-pole and cable. She still had it tight around the jar.

“I pulled straight down on the ground, and it popped right off,” Murphy said.

The deer walked straight to a low, wet area in the woods, presumably to get a drink, Murphy said. She put some deer chow in her deer feeder, and it later came to eat, she said.

“I haven’t seen her since. I hope she made it,” Murphy said.

Peg Farr of Wildwoods said the incident is an example of why litter can be a problem for wild animals. The organization has seen this kind of problem in the past.

“We get calls on this every year,” Farr said, “at least two or three per summer -- raccoons, skunks and cats. This is our first deer.”

Article written by Sam Cook of the Forum News Service

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