A team participating in the Rising Sun River Cats Catfish Tournament caught a deer instead.
(Rising Sun, Ind.) – A group of fishermen went out looking for catfish on the Ohio River, but ended up catching something much bigger – and with antlers.
Keith Hodge says he was joined by his 11-year-old son Austin and family friend Marlon Abplanalp in the Ohio Valley River Cats Catfish Tournament in Rising Sun on Saturday, September 7. The group enters the tournament each year.
This time, it was a very foggy morning on the big river, leading to a one-hour fog delay to the start of the tournament.
The soupy fog burned off a little, but visibility was still limited when boats were released to start the tournament. As the Hodges traveled to their fishing spot on the river, Austin spotted something in the water.
“We couldn’t see that good. My boy thought it was a log, but when we got closer, we realized it was a deer,” Keith recalls.
Yes, an eight-point buck was swimming in the river. While that isn’t unheard of as deer are known to swim when migrating or seeking a mate across the water, it was apparent to the fishermen that this animal was struggling to stay afloat.
“He couldn’t see well with the waves either. And the fog had him lost out there,” says Keith.
They quickly came up with a plan to rescue the buck before it drowned. As Keith drove the boat and Austin began filming with a cell phone, Marlon grabbed the deer by the antlers and held its head above the water beside the boat.
As the video shows, they slowly drove to the nearest riverbank.
“He wasn’t fighting it. He was maybe three or four minutes from drowning out there,” Keith suspects.
While they saved the buck from drowning needlessly, Keith admits a nice-looking eight-point buck may not survive too long in an area known for whitetail deer hunting.
“Yeah, we’re avid hunters, too,” chuckles Keith.