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Watch: Video shows two deer swimming a mile off Nantucket

Fishermen spotted the buoyant bucks off Sankaty and tried to guide them back to shore.

Two bucks were filmed swimming in open water about a mile off the eastern coast of Nantucket.

According to the Nantucket Current, on Monday morning, fishermen spotted antlers bobbing in the waves. They approached the animals and began recording a video. 

“Island fishermen spotted a somewhat unusual sight off Sankaty on Monday: a pair of antlers poking out of the water. Two bucks were swimming together in open water about a mile off the east end of #Nantucket,” the Current tweeted Friday.

In the video, a man says, “it’s freezing cold. That’s radical, man.” The deer, which appear to be one adult and one juvenile, are seen swimming closely together. 


One of the fishermen told the Current: “We were racing out to go fishing that day and we were five to 10 minutes from where we wanted to be, and one of the guys said ‘slow down!’ Right away he recognized what it was. We circled back around and tried to guide them to shore.”

The fishermen were participating in the 19th annual Nantucket Slam to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, according to the report. They told the outlet that they knew deer swam in the area, but they were still “taken aback” by the scene.

“I’ve never seen anything like that on the water. It was a good mile out, and they were definitely struggling,” one fisherman told the Current.

The fishermen said there was “no real chance of bringing them up onto the boat,” and that they didn’t want to frighten the deer, so they moved along. There’s no word on what happened to the deer. 

Some social media users were disturbed that the deer weren’t rescued. 

But according to World Deer, deer are excellent swimmers thanks to their strong leg muscles, hooves, and toes, and can reach speeds of 15 mph in the water. It’s not uncommon to cross lakes, rivers, and even ocean water in search of food.  


Massachusetts wildlife experts estimate there are about 2,000 deer currently living on Nantucket. 

According to the Nantucket Historical Association, on June 3, 1922, fishermen rescued a buck that was swimming in the Nantucket Sound and released him on the island. Three years later, an island resident bought two does from Michigan and released them on the island “to keep the buck company.” More deer were brought in 1935, which is also when the island established its first deer-hunting season. Despite efforts to cull the herd, the deer population has since flourished.


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