HERMANTOWN, Minn. – A whitetail deer got its head stuck in a clear plastic jar that prevented it from eating or drinking for several days, until a resourceful Duluth-area woman managed to pop the jar off.
The deer kept showing up around Janet Murphy's Hermantown home, the jar covering its head just below its ears, the Duluth News Tribune reported. Murphy tried calling to 911 and the state Department of Natural Resources for help but got nowhere, she said.
A 911 dispatcher routed her to the Minnesota State Patrol, which said it doesn't even get cats out of trees anymore, Murphy said Saturday. When she called the DNR she said she was told to let nature take its course.
"I would let nature take its course, but this was manmade. This was a plastic container on its head," she said.
Eventually, after posting her plight on Facebook someone suggested she contact Wildwoods, a wildlife-rehabilitation organization in Duluth.
Farzad Farr, a Wildwoods volunteer, came to Murphy's home bearing a 10-foot catch-pole. The contraption consists of a long, metal rod with a cable noose at the end that can be slipped over an animal's head and cinched.
Farr reasoned that because the deer was comfortable enough around Murphy to linger nearby, she might be able to use the catch-pole to pop off the jar next time the deer came around.
About four days after she first spotted the deer, Murphy came home and saw it lying on the edge of the woods. So Murphy grabbed the catch-pole, cautiously approached and tightened the cable around the jar.
"When I started securing it, she started jumping just like in a rodeo," Murphy said. "Up in the air and down. Side to side. She got on the ground and started to roll."
Murphy kept a firm grip on the pole, and the cable stayed tight around the jar. Finally, after wrestling with the deer for what seemed like several minutes, she gave a good downward yank and the jar popped off.
The dazed deer slowly walked to a wet area in the woods. It appeared to be drinking. Murphy set out some food in her deer feeder and it later came back to graze, she said.
"I haven't seen her since. I hope she made it," Murphy said.
Wildwoods spokeswoman Peg Farr said the situation spotlights why litter can be such a problem for wild animals.
"We get calls on this every year," Farr said, "at least two or three per summer -- raccoons, skunks and cats. This is our first deer."