It’s rare for a winter to pass without some word of a whitetail stuck on ice, and it’s easy to see how that situation occurs. Many frozen waterways offer deer comparatively easy travel to the deep snows found on shore. Some whitetails surely run onto ice to avoid predators, and of course deer are no different than any critter (or human) in their ability to just make the occasional stupid mistake and walk where they shouldn’t.

Of course most ice-bound deer are not seen by people and must either find their own way to sure footing or die. But each year a handful are spotted by passersby, many who decide that the “Nature must take its course” option is not acceptable. Rescues occur and the deer live to confront other survival challenges.

Naturally, getting a wild whitetail off the ice is no easy task, and the photos and stories that accompany these rescues often involve a lot of rope, a panicked deer and bunch of mayhem. But if you want to see a slick, seconds-to-safety whitetail roundup, check out this video. Some pretty ingenious maneuvering by a chopper pilot who gave a young deer another shot at life.