Two deer were rescued on Saturday after they became stuck in a partially frozen Gaetz Lake in Red Deer.

Daniel Brisbin was bird watching near the lake Saturday morning when he saw the spotted the deer in distress.

“I saw something kinda in the distance that I thought maybe was a couple of geese or something, so I used the binoculars to get a better look and that’s when I realized it was two deers struggling to keep their heads above the water,” he told CTV News Edmonton on Monday.

Brisbin said he knew he had to save the deer, but he didn’t know who to call.

“I didn’t know who to contact. I tried a few numbers and only got answering machines. I ended up getting a hold of somebody on the Report-a-Poacher hotline and when I talked to them they said that they had heard about these deer and they were going to send a wildlife officer to look into it.”

“Sometimes they would work together and try to push each other up onto the ice, but they were just not having any luck, because it would either break once they got a foothold, or it was just too slippery," he said.

"So yeah, they were in a lot of trouble.”

He said it took about half an hour for rescuers to arrive. After about 15 minutes of preparation, “From when I first noticed them in the water, until someone arriving was probably 30 minutes to maybe 45 minutes, and then they spent another 15 minutes trying to get their raft ready and get their game plan sorted out.”

The rescue went quickly from there.

“They used axes and stuff to break a path to the centre of the lake, which wasn’t frozen, and then they were able to lasso the deer. The rescue process took about another probably 15 minutes for each deer.”

“The first one, as soon as it came outta the water, it just kinda collapsed, and then they just kinda gave it some time to rest,” he said.

“The second one, he actually was a bit more feisty. When they were trying to lasso him and rescue him, he put up a bit of a fight and was splashing around. Wasn’t too sure about these humans, if they were really on his team or not, but they managed to rescue that one too, and as soon as he got to land, he ran right in front of me. I was on the path there and he ran right in front of me and into some long grass and just laid down and just rested.”

Brisbin said it’s the first time he’s seen an animal rescue. 

“It’s good to see when we can work together for the good of not just ourselves, but other species and nature."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha.