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Davidson County high school student rescues drowning deer

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Before and after work, Davidson County high school student Chance Pressley and his friends enjoy riding their jet skis on High Rock Lake. But the group's recent evening of fun turned into a rescue mission.

"I was really confused," Pressley said. "Why is there a deer in the lake? He was swimming and started bobbing up and down trying to get air. At that point he was drowning."

Pressley and his friends came across a fawn swimming in the middle of High Rock Lake. Pressley knew the little guy wouldn't last long. So he jumped off his jet ski and grabbed the fawn.

"He kicked me," Pressley said. "He tried to swim away. But at that point he didn't have a lot of fight left in him. So it wasn't too bad grabbing him up."

Pressley couldn't drive his jet ski and hold the fawn at the same time. So one of his friends towed Pressley and the baby deer back to dry land. After Pressley dried the deer off, he thought it would run into the woods. Instead the fawn remained in his lap. That's when he told his mother he was coming home with a baby deer.

"My mom was a little mad," Pressley said.

"Well I was a little upset at first," mother Amy Christensen said. "Mostly because I was just sad the deer wasn’t with his mom any more.”

"She thought that I should have left it where it was," Pressly said. "Then I called my dad and he said put it back where I found it. I don’t think they understood. It was in the middle of the lake. I can’t put it back where I found it.”

While mom was a little concerned about the new house guest, little sister Bailey Christensen couldn't wait for her brother to come home with the fawn.

"When my mom told me about the deer," said Bailey, "I saw the picture and loved it."

So the family named the fawn Fred. Fred stayed with the family for a day. Pressley bought milk and a leash for the deer. Fred the fawn even made trips to the gas station with Amy Christensen.

"It got clingy to me," Amy Christensen said. "So I had this deer all day long. I carried around everywhere I went. We went to the gas station and everybody was like you have a deer.”

The next day the family turned the fawn over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Fred the fawn is getting stronger and is ready to move on to a rescue ranch where it will spend the rest of its days.

Wildlife experts say Chance Pressley did the right thing by pulling the fawn out of the lake. Professionals add the majority of fawns we find are not orphaned. The mother deer will often return in 24 hours. If the fawn is still alone after 24 hours, call a wildlife expert so they can take it to a sanctuary.