A bewildered buck likely owes police a debt of thanks after officers used a Taser to shock it and ultimately help free it from a slack clothesline that threatened its life Friday in Marion.
At about 2:45 a.m., Sarah Tolessa alerted law enforcement that a deer had become ensnared in a clothesline that was tethered to a tree in her yard in the 100 block of Locust St.
“It woke me up,” Tolessa said. “It sounded like a small animal rustling in the leaves, but I looked outside and saw this big buck. It seemed very, very upset.”
Marion assistant chief Clinton Jeffrey and sheriff’s deputy Travis Wilson investigated, delving into a steep wooded draw south of Tolessa’s home with flashlights.
“It was thrashing around quite a bit,” Jeffrey said. “Its antlers were tangled up in about 30 feet of rope that was tied to a tree, and it kept running up and down the draw trying to get free. We were worried it would wear himself out and die.”
The buck’s tongue hung out of its mouth as its labored breath puffed from its nostrils in the cold night air.
“It was pretty worked up,” Jeffrey said. “Every time we approached it, it started freaking out.”
Tolessa said the buck appeared to be dangerous.
“It would have killed anyone who got too close; it could have gouged them with its antlers,” she said. “But the way it was tethered to the tree there was no way to free it without getting close to it.”
Police phoned game warden Cody Morris thinking he might have a tranquilizer gun they could use to mellow out the buck, but Morris didn’t have one, and police had to reevaluate their approach.
“The only options were to subdue it and free it in some way or shoot and kill it,” Jeffrey said. “We decided to try the Taser.”
Considering the state of prolonged anxiety the buck was in, Tolessa said police worried it might not survive the extreme 50,000-volt shock.
Wilson crept within 12 feet, aimed, and shot the buck. It fell to ground, temporarily immobilized long enough for Wilson to cut the tether before the buck got up and took off toward Marion Central Park. But it didn’t get far.
“The cord got wrapped around another tree, and they had to cut it again,” Tolessa said. “It would’ve killed itself if it hadn’t been set free.”
Jeffrey said the buck still had about 10 feet of clothesline entangled in its rack as it fled.