Colorado Parks and Wildlife spent Wednesday rescuing a buck forced into a culvert while sparring the night before with another male deer.
After more than four hours and multiple rescue attempts near Piñon Valley Park in northeast Colorado Springs, state wildlife officials escorted the buck across Centennial Boulevard into an open field, "which was no small feat," said Bill Vogrin, Parks and Wildlife spokesman.
State wildlife officials were called about the buck Tuesday night. Vogrin said the officers did not respond immediately because they wanted to "give it a chance to get out on its own."
But the deer was unable to get up the steep concrete walls of the culvert and remained trapped Wednesday morning, so District Wildlife Manager Corey Adler and intern Brianna Fett decided to tranquilize it and pull it out.
The buck slowly woke back up after a 40 minute nap and headed down the jogging path. Not long after, though, wildlife officers saw that it had gone back into the drainage canal from which they had freed it.
Just before 12:30 p.m., three hours into the ordeal, officers tried to tranquilize the buck again, but the drug was ineffective. Vogrin said officers "went cowboy," lassoing the buck and pulling him on all-fours out of the culvert.
The rescue was deemed a success, until the buck from the previous night's fight returned to "finish him off," Vogrin said.
The officers monitored the two bucks to keep them apart, eventually maneuvering their vehicles to shield the sedated buck "from this aggressor that seemed determined to kill him," Vogrin said.
About 1:30 p.m., the officers brought the buck to an open field nearby, where they thought he would be safe.
"After we rescued him twice, he ran off into the sunset," Vogrin said.
The situation highlights the dangers of a high urban deer population, Vogrin said. The area is very popular for hikers, bikers and runners, who are at risk for attack with the animals in the area.