Deer stuns mus­sel farmer

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - GARDENING - OLIVER LEWIS

Deer are known for be­ing fleet of foot, but one plucky crea­ture has shown they also take to swim­ming like a duck to wa­ter.

Clear­wa­ter Mus­sels owner John Young spot­ted what he thought was a log float­ing through one of his mus­sel farms, off the west coast of Maud Is­land, dur­ing a rou­tine in­spec­tion trip last week. But as the boat moved closer, Young re­alised it wasn’t a log at all.

‘‘I had an­other guy with me, Brian God­siff, and he said, ‘bug­ger me, it’s a deer, I’ve only ever seen that once in my life be­fore’.’’ Young said the deer was abut 250 me­tres from the shore, in wa­ter 40m deep. It was swim­ming through the buoys of the mus­sel farm, push­ing it­self up and over the lines that lay just un­der the wa­ter.

The pair stopped to watch the scene for a good 10 min­utes. Young said it was an amaz­ing sight, and that nei­ther of the two men, both keen hunters, had any in­ten­tion of harm­ing the an­i­mal.

‘‘As I get older it’s very much live and let live. We’re re­al­ists, of course. We live in the Sounds and we have to shoot deer and other pests like pos­sums be­cause there’s too many,’’ he said.

‘‘But I cer­tainly didn’t feel like ru­in­ing that deer’s day, it was hav­ing a beau­ti­ful time and so were we.’’ The mus­sel farmer shared one of the pho­tographs of the swim­ming deer with Aqua­cul­ture New Zealand, which posted it to its Face­book page.

Although it was the first time he had seen it him­self, Young said a fish­er­man once told him about com­ing across two deer swim­ming to­gether about a kilo­me­tre off­shore.

‘‘They’re such amaz­ing, ag­ile an­i­mals. It was just an idyl­lic thing, watching it swim through the mus­sel farm. I thought it was just mar­vel­lous,’’ he said.


Clear­wa­ter Mus­sels owner John Young spot­ted this deer tak­ing a swim through one of his mus­sel farms, on the western side of Maud Is­land.

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