BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A group of New Jersey beach goers got a wild surprise, that came with an intense call for action.

A group of surfers and others saw something very unusual out in the ocean on Tuesday, a deer taking a dip, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday.

A group of surfers rescued a young deer that had gotten swept out into the ocean. (Photo: Drew Inman)

A video was sent to Baker by Drew Inman, who was on the beach in Belmar with his girlfriend on Tuesday when he saw the small deer struggling. He said he attempted to rescue it but the water was too cold and then the animal was taken out further by a wave.

“Something ran into the water on our right, and Nick turned to me and said ‘Dude, is that a deer or a dog?'” said Princeton senior Alexander Fish.

A beachgoer first ran to help, but the 50 degree water proved too cold for him. The deer was taken further out by a wave. That’s when three local surfers in wet suits jumped in to help.

“We watched it swim really far past the surf break,” Fish said.

Interview With Rescuers

Inman said the deer was a football field’s length away from the beach and was drifting towards a rock jetty. The surfers circled around the deer to push it towards shore, and then finally one man got a hold of the animal and cradled it to the beach.

“Once I got up close, I didn’t really thing to do anything bu just grab him. I picked him up and walked him out. Once on shore, another guy ran at him to make sure it wouldn’t bolt back into the water,” Fish said.

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“Surfers with deer in the ocean, that’s crazy. I see a lot of deer on Main Street, but never walking on the beach. That’s amazing,” said a Belmar resident named Raj.

Baker spoke with wildlife expert Carol Tyler about the rarity of the situation.

“It was probably wandering along the dunes by the beach there and something scared it and in a panic it went into the water,” Tyler said. “Maybe it thought it was a river and it was heading to the other side. There is no notebooks for deer telling them what an ocean is, so he probably didn’t realize how deep he was getting.”

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Tyler said you may not think deer live in beach towns like Belmar, but they do. They like marshy areas. She also said the group did the right thing. The surfers saved a young life.


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