Conservation Wildlife Management

Two Deer Spend the Night Stranded on a Missouri Rooftop

"We initially thought it may have been a prank call," said the conservation officer who arrived on the scene to help
Bob McNally Avatar
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One of the whitetails that got stuck on the roof of Mid-City Lumber in Jefferson City last Wednesday. KRCG News

At least a few people who drove past Mid-City Lumber in Jefferson City, Missouri, last Wednesday did a double take as they looked out their windows. A few even slowed down long enough to gawk at the peculiar sight: a pair of whitetail deer standing on top of the 8,000 square-foot roof.

Mid-City Lumber’s branch manager Dane Wilson told KRCG News that phone calls started coming in around 6 p.m. that evening. A few people left voicemails about the stranded deer, but since the business had already closed around 5, none of these were received until the next day.

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When Wilson and the other employees showed up to work on Thursday morning, the two deer were bedded comfortably on the roof. Wilson soon figured out how the deer had gotten on the large metal roof, explaining to reporters that they had jumped up there from a retaining wall between the building and a patch of nearby trees. Now the employees faced the very real problem of how to get the deer off the roof.

“Our yard guy comes up with the idea to build steps down and maybe [they’d] find [their] way down and it was just a waiting game,” Wilson said. But the deer never quite figured the staircase out, and after hours of waiting, the crew decided to call in the experts.

Wildlife officers with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation had already been fielding other calls from the public about the deer on the roof, and they showed up at the building supply store around mid-morning Thursday. After assessing the situation, conservation agent Cole Edison was just as puzzled as Wilson at the time.

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Agent Cole Edison looks on puzzled at the deer stuck on the roof. KRCG News

“We initially thought it may have been a prank call,” Edison told KRCG News. “We weren’t sure what was going on. And then several calls started coming in, and then more and more calls. Then when we heard there were actually two deer up there, the first thought that crossed my mind was how in the world are we doing to get these deer off the roof.”

After talking it over with Wilson, who explained his retaining-wall theory, Edison decided to hop on the rooftop himself. He was able to herd the pair of whitetails toward the edge, where they hopped back onto the retaining wall and then down to the ground. The deer bounded off into the trees unharmed.