by Rich McIlhenny
Driving home from showing a property in Erdenheim this past Friday night, I turned onto Bethlehem Pike from Stenton Avenue and came upon a car with its hazard lights on and a young woman sitting on the curb next to an injured deer.
I pulled my car over in front of hers, jumped out and walked back to find her sobbing while talking to 911 and gently rubbing the coat of the beautiful buck that she had just hit with her vehicle.
One of his antlers that been ripped off from the impact of either her car or maybe the curb lay a few feet away. He had lost a little blood from where we weren’t sure and was breathing, but his eyes were closed, and he was in obvious distress. As she hung up, I introduced myself, and she told me her name was Hannah.
She explained what had happened and asked what we should do or whom we could call. I explained that there wasn’t anyone who would be able to do more than we could as the few wildlife rehabs in the region aren’t equipped to handle deer. And I knew from personal experience that as per state law, the rehab facilities weren’t even allowed to take them in.
We sat with the buck for about 20 minutes, and we both petted it and spoke to it softly to try and keep him calm and comforted. Every now and then he would thrash around and try to stand up but then give up and stop. Hannah surmised that his legs didn’t appear to be broken.
I agreed and thought maybe he was more stunned than anything, so we decided the next time he came to, we would try and help him up. Sure enough his eyes opened, and his legs starting flailing again. I grabbed his remaining antler to prevent us from getting gored, and we both grabbed him around the torso to lift him up. After a few tries, we were able to get him on his feet, and we both cheered with joy.
We guided him away from busy Bethlehem Pike and towards a stone wall surrounding a property on Lynnebrook Lane. He was leaning to the left the whole time and when he got to the wall, he used it for support. He slowly made his way along the wall without our help and towards a driveway. He walked about halfway up the driveway, and I grabbed his antler again and put my arm around him. Thus, I was able to turn him around and back down the driveway and across the street.
We came upon another driveway and walked across it towards a field of an adjoining property, which is where I figured he came from originally. He headed towards a large tree and leaned himself up against it and we decided this was as good a place to leave him to regain his strength and hopefully make his way back to home.
We said our goodbyes to him and wished him well and then said goodbye to each other. Hannah thanked me for stopping to help, and we both got into our vehicles and pulled away. I had a hard time sleeping that night as I was so worried about him.
The next morning and again in the afternoon, I went back to where this all occurred, worried that I would find him dead, but the buck was nowhere to be found. I was relieved since this was a good sign that maybe he recovered completely and was back to whatever he would normally be doing.
So if you happen to see a buck with only one antler in the area, it’s probably him. If so, please reach out to me and let me know. I’ll be looking for him as well.
Rich McIlhenny is a lifelong resident of Mt Airy and a realtor with Remax Services. He can be reached at 215-275-6303 or Rmac88@gmail.com