LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP, PA (WNEP/CNN/RNN) – Ask any hunter, nearly all have stories about the deer they shot or the one that got away.
But very few hunters can match the story Josh Davis has of saving an eight-point buck from a frozen lake in Pike County.
"He must have made it out that far, slipped and fell, and couldn't get back up," Davis said.
When the spotted him, Davis and Ed Schmalzle wondered what they could do. The deer was about 100 yards from shore and the ice was thin.
"I wouldn't want to see the deer suffer," Davis said. "I am a hunter. There's a giant difference between an animal being harvested humanely and one being left out to die on the frozen ice."
When they spotted the deer on Greely Lake on Saturday, no one was sure how long the buck had been there.
Davis and Schmalzle quickly ran over to nearby Camp Shohola and grabbed a boat to start the rescue effort. It took a lot of time and a lot of care.
"Even with the boat distributing my weight, the boat was still cracking the ice up," Davis said.
Once he reached the deer, Davis lassoed him and brought the buck back to shore to recover before running off.
"If it wasn't for him, the deer might have been laying out there yet," Schmalzle said.
Davis said there’s no conflict in his mind about being a hunter and saving an animal he or another hunter might kill on another day.
"If someone did happen to get him on Monday, that's feeding a family as opposed to him sitting out there going to waste," Davis said.
"People don't realize that just because hunters go out and kill that they're not humane or they don't have those feelings about animals and the environment,” said Jeff Sidle, another hunter who shot the video and snapped pictures of the rescue. “That's the way we are. It captured who we are.”