OCEAN CITY – A resilient deer went on a rampage of sorts through downtown Ocean City on Wednesday morning that ended with the tranquilized animal crashing through the window of a Boardwalk restaurant before being safely returned to the woods near Berlin.
What happened in between sounds more like the exploits of a June Bug rather than a wild deer as the animal dashed from the beach to the Boardwalk to the streets of the resort. The deer was first spotted early Wednesday morning near Dorchester Street and for more than an hour and a half, Ocean City Police and animal control officers attempted to sedate the animal using a tranquilizer gun.
The deer, with a tranquilizer dart in its neck, then ran up the Boardwalk and onto the beach and back again. At one point, around 10:30 a.m., a Boardwalk merchant, Joe Kroart, whose family owns Ocean Gallery at 2nd Street, walked out on the Boardwalk to assess the early morning crowds and the weather and saw the animal bolting toward him and others from the south.
“To see a dear running full speed down the Boardwalk was quite a scene,” he said. “I went out and looked to the south and it was running right at me.”
According to Kroart, the deer attempted to turn off the Boardwalk at 2nd Street when it collided with a pay phone. Its legs slid out from under it and it rolled off the Boardwalk before rebounding and heading west on 2nd Street. Over the next hour or so, the deer was seen several times running from the beach to the bay as far south as Dorchester Street and as far north as 15th Street.
The deer was shot with a tranquilizer by a police officer near 10th Street and continued north on the Boardwalk. It finally crashed through a window at DaVinci’s Restaurant on the Boardwalk. The animal was sedated again by the officer, and after it became unconscious, it was carefully loaded into a pick-up truck by concerned citizens and the police officers.
The deer was then driven to a wooded area near Berlin where it was released. The animal was administered an antidote to the tranquilizer and shortly thereafter it ran off into the woods. According to the police report, the deer suffered superficial injuries from the window but was otherwise not seriously injured.
While the incident was certainly one for books, it is not unusual for deer to find their way into the resort. During the off-season, they are known to cross the bay during extreme low tides. The most recent example was Memorial Day weekend in 2003 when several deer were reported running through the resort.