September 16th, 2011
09:43 PM ET

Man, son save fawn in middle of bay

Dave Falkenburg didn’t catch any fish in Michigan’s Wild Foul Bay on a recent excursion, but he’s happy with what he says he did grab from the water: A 65-pound fawn.

Falkenburg and his 13-year-old son, Justin, say video taken with the boy’s cell phone shows them rescuing the juvenile deer well away from shore on Sunday. They say they found it while driving their motorboat in the water about 45 miles northeast of Saginaw.

“My son thought it was a seagull or something,” Falkenburg told CNN of the moment they saw something bobbing in the water. “And I said no, I think it’s a deer.”

Falkenburg told CNN affiliate WNEM that it appeared the fawn was struggling to survive. The video, which the pair posted to YouTube, shows the boat approaching the water-treading fawn, and then Falkenburg grabbing the animal by the neck with the intention of keeping its head above water.

“We both decided that we needed to act, and needed to act fast,” Falkenburg, of Caseville, told CNN.

After Justin drove for a while with his dad holding the deer’s head, Dave Falkenburg eventually put the deer into the boat.

Thirty-five minutes after they found the animal, they were close enough to shore to put it into shallow water. Video shows the fawn walking toward land.

Falkenburg said deer regularly swim from a peninsula out to an island.

Mary Detloff, spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said no DNR personnel were involved. She said she had no reason to doubt the story.

“I wouldn’t put it past the people of Michigan trying to save a deer,” she said.

Falkenburg said it didn’t matter to him that he didn’t catch any fish on the trip.

"We caught the best catch of the day," he said.

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Filed under: Animals • Deer • Michigan
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Jessica S Naples, FL

    Congratulations Mr. Fallkenburg – for more than your "catch of the day".

    Your rescue of a wild animal in trouble is commendable, but your open-mindedness during this “adventure” allowed you to see the value of life for ALL God's creatures. The opening of a small window of light into your soul briefly touched your own heart and you processed the events of the day into a loss of interest in hunting as a sport. But there’s more …

    Your 13-year-old son Justin was with you, helping all the way. The example you set for him (a “work-in-progress”), will influence how he forms his adult priorities. You showed him what a “REAL MAN” is made of. You’ve helped your son strengthen his developing character with kindness, compassion, and EMPATHY, valuable traits whose presence all but guarantee future happiness and a greater appreciation of life.

    Well done Sir!

    September 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    Hi banasy. Who is coco?

    September 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. funky bunch

    Hope his fishing license has a deer stamp.

    September 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Hi, saywhat-

    Coco is the name we gave the troll who writes about liking cocoa with marshmallows.
    Pretty harmless, as trolls go, but hilarious in her own way. (I'm assuming that Coco is female, I don't know why.)

    Hope you're having a great weekend.

    September 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pilihP

    Nobody liked how I rescued 'sandy pie' the little girl rednose pit?

    September 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pilihP

    Oh, trolls. Not even 'sandy pie' can compete with them.

    September 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pilihP


    September 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mmmmm

    Fawn fishing

    September 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina Fletcher

      On Mother's Day (2003) driving home; two sons and our Brittany in the back seat. Car in front hit a fawn–it was flailing in the street. I put it in our car on my lap. Needless to say it kicked me all the way home; I was black and blue. After days of hearing it crying the Lindsay Museum finally came and got it and set its broken leg; let it heal and then freed it. I like to think of that fawn all grown up with its own teenage children to look after.

      September 18, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mmmmm

    I eat catfish with bbq ribs. Yumy

    September 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzzzzzzz

    Where's my Ruffie?

    September 18, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    When I was 5, traveling around Norway with my family, we decided to camp at a very picturesque lake site! There were already a few other campers there, so we pitched our tent! Early the next am another camper told us to hurry & pack up, there were bear in the vicinity! This was in the early spring, way up in northern Norway & a light snow had fallen during the night! As we packed (quickly!) we saw large bearpaw prints all around the camp! That camper wasn't exagerating, bear were in the vicinity, alright!! Later, on the trip we stopped at a beautiful lookout point to catch the view of the fjord, & also caught a pod of whales frolicking in the ocean! That was such a cool trip & I was very young, but I'll never forget it! Ps. my mom was growing my babysis in her belly during the trip, too! It was unforgettable for so many reasons!!

    September 18, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Josie

    It was nice of him to warn you and smart of you're parents to act fast on it.

    September 18, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    @ Philip, I care that you rescued "sandy pie", the rednose pit! Good job, glad to hear not every 1 thinks they are dangerous! Animals & nature are so important to the wellbeing of the planet & to us humans too, as the father-son rescue of the fawn illustrates! My Norway story is kind of a continuation of a similar thread, how important it is for parents to be the guides of these types of unforgettable events in their kids lives! To show that all of life is special & precious & deserves their niche here, even the bear in the camp (though we didn't really want to meet it, lol!) Thanks for this heart-warmer!!

    September 18, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. pilihP

    @fernace...:) Thank-you for your kind words. 🙂 But you kinda took what I said out of context. If you read each of my few posts, you will see that I was illustrating how wild people are more dangerous than wild animals. I was in no danger from the pit bull's...If the wild people pitting them caught me rescueing 'sandy pie', there's no telling what they would have tried doing to me. Those who pit puppy dogs lust for blood ya know. The dogs are just being obedient to their masters...and even if their masters had loosed their dogs on me, it wouldn't be the dogs fault if I got mamed or killed, it would be their master's fault. Pit-bulldog's aren't dangerous, their masters are! // And sorry about getting around to thanking you for reading my post. I fell asleep right after work. It was one of the toughest of days, both physically and emotionally. I recently moved my business accross town to a newer commercial strip mall. I moved right smack-dab into the middle a den full of thieves. It took every ounce of energy..

    September 18, 2011 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. pilihP me not to beat the living sh!t out of one of them today. I busted my ass these past couple' weeks getting my place together. Now, I'll be going in on monday and tearing it all down... finding another location. (shrug) See? It's like I threw myself into the pit, and now I must rescue ME. he he...and I just got done moving-away from another den of thieves accross town where I had endured their bs for over a year. Think I'll try moving to Death Valley. 😉 And furnace, your story is heartwarming. Especially the part about the bun in the oven. (hug)

    September 18, 2011 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
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