A family’s beach vacation took an odd turn this week when they ran into a large deer in the ocean off Sunset Beach, North Carolina.
But that’s not the strange part. Video shows the buck was belly deep in the ocean, doing something akin to body surfing.
Nancy Byrd Bustle of Hartsville, South Carolina, says it happened late Tuesday, Nov. 9, and she was “mesmerized” by the sight of those antlers facing off with crashing waves.
“I was sitting up on shore and my sister-in-law happened to look down to our right and spotted it in the water,” Bustle told McClatchy News.
“It was hard to make out for certain it was a deer, so I got up and walked down towards it and sure enough, I saw the rack on his head. We thought we were seeing things. … It was an amazing sight.”
The buck appeared to be “riding the waves,” she says, and it ventured neck-deep in the water at some points. She watched for more than an hour and says it was still in the ocean when they packed up and left the beach.
“Yes, he was still swimming after it got dark,” she says. “It honestly seemed to be enjoying the waves. He’d swim out pretty far and then come back into shore.”
Beachgoers were sparse at the time, Bustle says, so there was no crowd “antagonizing” the deer. She also saw no hint of wildlife that might have intimidated it, such as a coyote or free-roaming dogs.
Some people have suggested it was in distress and needed to be rescued, she says. But the buck was recorded coming out the water and going back in multiple times, she said.
“He literally looked like he was enjoying the buoyancy of the waves,” she said. “He mostly stared out into the ocean and ignored anyone on shore. He had many opportunities to run out of the water and back into the dunes but he chose to continue on his path.”