Reports of a deer swimming toward open water, in the direction of Martha’s Vineyard, crackled over Barnstable County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Bumpus’s radio just before 8:30 AM. He and fellow Deputy Shawn Pollard fired up the twin-engine Sheriff’s Office boat and headed for the site. The two deputies located the deer in deep water off Falmouth Heights Beach.
Pollard, who used to compete in roping competitions during his days as a Fresno, California-area high schooler, nabbed the four-point buck on his second toss and hauled him in. “I’d have got him on the first try,” he maintained good-naturedly “if I was using the heavier type of rope we used back in my junior rodeo days.”
Once aboard and safely tied, a rather nasty wrestling match over, the two officers headed back toward shore. They re-submerged the deer in about seven feet of water off Trunk River Beach and watched as he swam back and romped into the woods. Pollard rates the likelihood of the deer drowning, had he continued flailing toward the Vineyard, at 100%. The rescue and round-trip to and from the boat’s mooring in Falmouth Harbor lasted about a half hour, according to a statement from Roy Lyons public information officer for the Barnstable County Sheriff's office.
The response came at the request of the Falmouth Harbormaster, who knows firsthand that not all such stories end so well. Days earlier, responding to a similar request of a deer-in-the-water, they motored to the site -- only to arrive too late. Its carcass was found floating on the surface.