PLYMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The mild ending to winter may have caught wildlife by surprise: a deer fell through thin ice on the Round Pond in Plymouth Tuesday morning.
The Warden Service, Newport Fire Department, and Plymouth Fire Department responded to a call reporting an animal stuck in the ice at 10:30 a.m.
Game Warden Rick Ouellette said the pond was frozen a few days ago, and the deer may have been caught by surprise.
Kicking its legs to stay afloat for about 30 minutes, the Newport Fire Department's Cold Water Rescue team chipped through the thin sheet of ice with oars to reach the deer.
Using a lasso, the team pulled the deer to the boat, bringing it back to the shore and setting it free.
"These types of calls are very challenging because we've got to be careful not to put human life in danger," said Ouellette.
"But in this situation, it was good for the deer and it was a happy ending," he said.
It may have been a story with a happy ending -- but it was also a cautionary tale for anyone who still has ice shacks on ponds or lakes.
The deadline to bring in ice shacks is April 1, but Ouellette recommends bringng in the shacks as soon as possible.
But as the deer demonstrated -- the ice is not safe, so ice shack owners should consult the Warden Service before attempting to bring them in.
He said the water is still icy, even if temperatures are hitting 80 degrees this week.
People should still use life jackets and exercise caution when out on the water this spring.