Local News

Deer dies from hypothermia despite rescue from icy Des Plaines River

A deer has died from hypothermia after rescued by crews from the Des Plaines River in Willow Springs.

Willow Springs firefighters struggled to save the deer that fell through the ice at Columbia Woods.

Police officers spotted the buck around 9 a.m. Monday.

Firefighters in thermal suits broke through the ice and eventually got a line on the deer so it could be pulled to shore.

The deer still had a faint heartbeat after the rescue, and was transported by police escort to Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge. As soon as they arrived to the shelter, they lost a pulse.

Under the direction of two veterinarians and certified technician, everything was done medically to revive the deer. Unfortunately, due to the time length of time the deer spent in the freezing water, Hypothermia had set in and they were unable to save him.


47 Comments to “Deer dies from hypothermia despite rescue from icy Des Plaines River”

    osvaldo matos said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Maybe they should try and scare the deer with a water hose!

      MS SHERRY LOWE said:
      December 9, 2013 at 9:02 PM


      MS SHERRY LOWE said:
      December 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM


    jonny hardguess said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Why is this breaking news? That’s it I’m watching PBS!!

      MS SHERRY LOWE said:
      December 9, 2013 at 8:56 PM


    spanglks said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Really WGN? You've spent enough time on this story. All this time spent saving and reporting on a deer who, if it had run into a car, would be considered a nuisance.

      sherry Lowe said:
      December 9, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      you are an idiot. go home if you have one.

    Lucia Carmel said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    The helicopter taping,should help lift deer out of water.

      RealLife101 said:
      December 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      This was our first thought while viewing!!!!! Helicopter and harness would have worked, quickly! Why didn't anyone come forward with this idea to utilize a helicopter within the very long, heartbreaking live taping of an innocent being so valiantly struggling for survival against an act of nature?

    sherri said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    they should of stayed behind the deer- instead of going in front of it- that is what made the deer turn around again-

    Donnita said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    What about a boat and a rope! Think old school people! Duh!

    Donnita said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Finally they used a rope!

    just watching said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Ok, great effort….but after all that watching, I wanted to see a close-up of the deer after it was rescued. Why is it zoomed out?

      Anna said:
      December 9, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      they said because they didn't know what they were doing to the deer, maybe they were tranquilizing it or something that's what the lady said. I find it stupid that they didn't zoom in. I mean they had us hooked for an hour and then not to show what the outcome was of the deer was so stupid,

      RealLife101 said:
      December 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      The poor Buck had probably already expired by the time pulled out of the water. Previous to this, there definitely was "Hope" for the Deer; once pulled out of the water, lying motionless, all hope was lost for the Deer. The brave animal fought so hard to live. Many hearts ache for the very sad outcome.

    just watching said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Thanks WGN! It seems that there was a sad outcome. But thanks for the coverage.

    Scoot said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    How much did this cost? "Buck Watch, Day 1"! Guess that buck has a case of the Mondays. What if the fireman drowned?

    Buck Wild said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Tax dollars hard at work!

    Buck Naked said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Morons. They waited until it drowned then pulled it out.

      MS SHERRY LOWE said:
      December 9, 2013 at 9:17 PM


    Anonymous said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    So is the deer alive? Will it be ok? Stop hating on WGN! You were all obviously watching this and to see people helping is much better then hearing about people being murdered!

    ann said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    I rather watch this.poor deer anyday.. Then hear about another damn shooting. Don’t care about the shootings..

    Wildbill said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    They should have stayed behind him the first time. After all this I hope we find out if he survived.

    Wildbill said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    However I certainly understand that they did their best and had to get themselves out safely.

    Joyce said:
    December 9, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Stories like this renew my faith in humanity! Thanks to all those who helped one of God's beautiful creatures. I hope the deer survived.

      Buck Naked said:
      December 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Really? The deer would have had a better chance if those idiots left it alone instead of chasing it back and fort in ice cold water.

      Dick Beninya said:
      December 9, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Stories like this Renew my faith in stupidity.
      People die on the streets and they cover this?

      RealLife101 said:
      December 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Sadly Joyce, no, after such a valiant struggle to live…the magnificent Deer did not make it once ashore.

    hidari said:
    December 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    The deer didn't make it. So sad,

    n sider said:
    December 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    they drowned it when they pulled it out by its antlers forcing its head underwater.

      Anna said:
      December 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      they didn't pull the deer by his antlers the firefighter nudged the deer with his foot…

    Mel said:
    December 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    So sad but a thanks to all the rescuers for their efforts!

    Buck Wild said:
    December 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Yeah, and if a rescue worker drowned trying to save the deer, their family would have sued for $30 million. The person who gave the command to do this should be fired. MY tax dollars should not be used for this type of thing. And to claim it was a good resource for training? Pfui. People don't have antlers and thrash around. Deer do.

    Anna said:
    December 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    What I don't understand is how stupid the human race is. The deer is scared of humans on top of that being cold… The humans should stand on the other side of the pond so the deer can go towards the path the humans made… Animals are scared of humans remember, so going after a deer will only make the deer want to get away from humans more. Isn't that common sense? To put 2 firefighters at risk to save a deer is ridiculous… 2 lives compared to a DEER… Holy crap. To show that on the news for an hour just blows my mind.

    smitty said:
    December 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Poor Rudolf, who will guide Santa's sleigh?

    RealLife101 said:
    December 9, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Dear WGN Morning News and Whom It May Concern,

    It was painful to watch this magnificent Deer so bravely fighting for its life for such a long time…and even more painful to hear of the terribly sad outcome.

    Until the kindly humans dove diligently into the freezing waters to assist the lone Deer, we the viewers wanted to look away helplessly in angst.

    We ached when suddenly the Deer veered off from the path to shore, but cheered again when he was back on track. And then when it seemed so very hopeful — this awesome being lay motionless ashore. What a shocking contrast from the never-ending movement and struggle the determined Deer had unrelentingly endured for well over an hour!

    Next the camera that we relied upon as our eyes — shifting from close-ups to overviews for better understanding — pulled far away and hovered up above the scene. Like a protective shield, the camera now served as a barrier adding distance, leading us away with uncertainty.

    We wanted to believe all was well with the brave Buck we had just emotionally shared some of our morning with, while clenching our coffee cups, waiting.

    And now, anticipated news of the Buck's honorable battle to stay alive has come. And we are so deeply saddened! Yes, he was just one of many. But today, this one, single, individual Deer's life mattered. Especially to him. But also, to us.

    To persevere is to "continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success". Faced with such overwhelming obstacles, this wondrous Buck remained … truly Valiant!

    He has shown us that in the face of adversity, one must be resilient…and indeed, persevere. The now legendary Buck is a hero today, along with the compassionate humans who fearlessly tried to help one of God's creatures "breathe easier". This is the meaning of success.

    Thank you both Animal and Human Beings for this life lesson so poignantly displayed on a seemingly typical Monday morning.

    And Thank you, WGN, for making the decision to share this news with us. You echoed our thoughts aloud, shared our concerns, and touched our lives today with humanity. Your steadfast footage enjoined the anxious viewers in the heroic efforts, ensured that all involved would be accountable in their actions, and was a worthy plea for further assistance.

    Although we normally enjoy WGN's humorous banter interspersed with the daily dose of morning news, this rarely-seen-incident caught on film seriously alerts us that in a moment, all things known can change. We will never forget your breaking news story on another seemingly ordinary day, September 11, 2001. What a wake-up call!

    At the end of the day, the message of perseverance and compassion still lingers. May we strive to acknowledge this always, regardless whether our daily routine is temporarily disrupted or not; regardless whether we are on one side or the other. We are all connected.

    Life is precious, albeit too short sometimes. Every one, single, individual life matters. Always and every day.

    viewer: RealLife101

      KB said:
      December 9, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      wow! RealLife101…..there is nothing else to say!

      Megan said:
      December 9, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Well said. I couldn't agree with you more.

    titanic1135 said:
    December 9, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    I thought they had a weak game plan, and moved too slowly. The buck was in the water over an hour. The fact that it still had a weak pulse showed that every minute was critical. If it were a person, you would have seen a lot more urgency. I still appreciate the fact that they tried at all, but guys, next time you get called to a water rescue, bring a row boat!

    Truth hurts said:
    December 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Slow news day when Pat "Butch" Brenn is on TV. Ask his kids what a hero he is, oh.. … they wouldn't know, he hasn't seen them in years.

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