Man rescues distressed muntjac deer from river in kayak

Bill Pover, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, saved a muntjac deer from the River Wensum

Bill Branston, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, saved a muntjac deer from the River Wensum - Credit: Bill Pover

A man armed with just a kayak herded a muntjac deer to safety from the River Wensum in Norwich.

Bill Branston

Bill Branston, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, saved a muntjac deer from the River Wensum - Credit: Bill Branston

Bill Branston, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, was in his home when girlfriend, Tilly Carruthers, 25, saw what she thought was her dog in the River Wensum on Wednesday, May 26.

At a second glance, they realised their Italian greyhound, Nugent, was safely inside, and that the animal in the water was a muntjac deer.

Bill Branston

Bill Branston, 28, and his dog Nugent (@DailyNugent on Instagram) - Credit: Matt Colley

After calling a wildlife rescue charity the deer swam upstream and wasn't seen again until 5pm on Friday, May 28.

"I rang the wildlife rescue guy again [on Friday] but he said he was too far away to come and get the deer," Mr Branston said. "I told him that I had a kayak and he said I should try and get it to land myself.

"I got on the kayak and tried to herd the deer upstream towards the Ribs of Beef.

Bill Branston

Bill Branston, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, saved a muntjac deer from the River Wensum - Credit: Bill Branston

"I have never done anything like this before, I  was about to go to the pub and told my friend I was going to be late and what I was doing. They thought I was insane."

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It took Mr Branston around 30 minutes to get the deer to land using his kayak, which he had received as a gift from a student.

"It looked like the deer had been there for a few days, he was shaking and really distressed when I was rescuing him. 

"It was running away and trying to get away from me, so I just followed it with the kayak up the river.

Bill Branston

Bill Branston, 28, a piano and guitar teacher who lives in Norwich, saved a muntjac deer from the River Wensum - Credit: Bill Branston

"There were some people paddle-boarding by the bridge and they scared the deer to come towards me and I sort of herded it to the slipway."

Once the deer put its feet on land it scarpered away from the scene and Mr Branston received applause from a small crowd of people on the river bank.

Mr Branston said: "It was great to get the deer out of the water after seeing it so distressed.

"I still went to the pub after."

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