Co-op News

Co-op Confronts Deer Gone Wild

By Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer Published: January 14th, 2014

A retired truck driver and grandfather of three survived a fierce attack by a seven-point buck deer, thanks to two quick-thinking employees of an Ohio electric cooperative.

South Central Power's Jamie Thimmes (l) and Chris Ortiz rescued an Amanda, Ohio, member from Bucky, a rampaging pet deer. (Photo By: Lisa Hooker)

South Central Power’s Jamie Thimmes (l) and Chris Ortiz rescued an Amanda, Ohio, member from Bucky, a rampaging pet deer. (Photo By: Lisa Hooker)

The daring rescue happened not in the woods of Ohio, but instead at a co-op member’s house in Amanda, near the Lancaster, Ohio, headquarters of South Central Power Co. And the animal was “Bucky,” a six-year-old pet deer raised by the member since its fawn days.

The co-op’s Jamie Thimmes and Chris Ortiz had just finished a routine call at the residence last month, when the member, who declined to be named, invited them to see Bucky.

“I thought he was talking about a deer decoy, but it was a real deer,” said Thimmes, a field service technician at South Central Power. “We went to an outside pen and barn, where the deer was lying down. He was trying to get the deer to come out, and when he went into the barn, that’s when it turned on him.”

With head lowered, Bucky charged its owner, pinning him to the barn wall with his antlers.

“His head rammed me on the left side, and he pushed me and pushed me against the barn,” the member told ECT.coop. “I grabbed him by the antlers to push him away, but that made him madder and he pushed back” with his head, breaking the man’s leg.

While Ortiz ran to the house to call 911, the victim yelled to Thimmes for help.

“I didn’t even think about it, and it all happened in a minute,” said Thimmes, who used a spray bottle of ammonia to repel the deer and, along with Ortiz, carried the victim to his house and waited for emergency responders.

Fortunately, for all involved, the deer didn’t attack again. In fact, Thimmes and the victim said Bucky watched the three men go back to the house. “We walked within 5 to 10 feet of it,” said Thimmes. “It didn’t flinch or move. It went from angry and attacking to totally calm. It was like God was making him stay.”

The victim required leg surgery and is now on crutches. He’s expects a complete recovery. In the meantime, Bucky was shipped off to a nature preserve further in northern Ohio.

The attack happened in December, the middle of mating season when bucks are particularly aggressive.

“It was my fault that I got hurt, and I shouldn’t have gone in there,” said the member. “But I thank God that Jamie and Chris were there. Had it not been for them, that deer would have killed me.”

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