Deer takes a September swim in the ocean off Laguna Beach’s shoreline

A deer rests in the backyard of an Emerald Bay home. The deer was first spotted offshore at Aliso Beach on Sunday morning.
(Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Police Department)

It wasn’t a hot weekend in Laguna Beach, but it was apparently warm enough for a deer to take a long swim in the Pacific on Sunday.

Laguna Beach Police Department spokesman Lt. Tim Kleiser said animal control officers responded to reports of a deer walking around on the shore at Aliso Beach at around 8 a.m. Sunday, but the deer eventually left the sand and swam north to Main Beach — a distance of roughly 2 miles.

Marine Safety Capt. Kai Bond said the deer exited the water at about 10:30 a.m. and bedded down on a bluff below Las Brisas restaurant. Police said Irvine’s Animal Services and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also responded to assist.

Animal safety officials decided to allow the deer to remain in the brush to rest as it appeared to be “exhausted” following its ocean workout.

A few hours later, the animal left that location and was found on the inland side of the Emerald Bay community, where it was tranquilized and transported to be released back into the wild.

State fish and wildlife spokesman Tim Daly said it is unusual but not unheard of for deer to be found in the ocean.

“Our wildlife officer told me it was a ‘deer being a deer,’” said Daly, adding that the agency did not see an urgent need to try to capture or rescue it.

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