FOLSOM, Calif. - Kenny Croyle was enjoying a day of boating Sunday afternoon on Folsom Lake with his wife and in-laws when they saw something that just didn't look right.
"Another boat had their flag up, and we didn't really see anybody in the water,” he told KTXL on Monday. “So, we just slowed down just to be careful. Didn't know exactly what was going on."
The occupants of the other boat had just rescued a struggling fawn from a deep part of the lake, far from shore.
"And, they yelled at us and let us know there was another one,” Croyle said. "The mom, the doe, was heading for shore, but she was quite a ways away."
Croyle and his family spotted the other baby deer floundering in the water.
"It was confused and definitely didn't know where its mom was," he said.
"I just said ‘This thing's not going to make it,'" said Karen Uhrik, Croyle's mother-in-law.
Uhrik explained there was a lot of boat traffic and waves on the water, which frightened the fawn. While its mother made it to shore, the baby deer wasn’t able to follow.
"As a boat would go by, it would be turning around. It even started going the opposite direction," she said. "And, then, we just saw him going lower and lower in the water and went 'We need to help him.'”
"So, I put my life jacket on, jumped in after it and picked it up,” Croyle said. “As soon as I picked it up, it kind of went limp. It was very relieved I think, very tired."
Croyle said his wife wrapped the tiny fawn in a towel for warmth.
"She said she could feel its heart beating through the towel, and we boated it over to the shore," he said.
"By the time we got closer, actually, I spotted the mother up on the hillside," said Croyle's father-in-law, Michael. "You could tell she was looking down trying to find the fawns."
Both boats were able to reunite the fawns with their mother on land.
"And, to see (Kenny) gingerly put the fawn up on the embankment, and it stayed there for a minute to get its legs and then it just hopped,” Uhrik said. “And, then, we saw some rustling going on in the bushes and we went, ‘There, they found each other.’"