A Nova Scotia man is sharing the story of an amazing animal rescue after a mother deer and her baby became trapped on the frozen waters of Antigonish Harbour.

Ian Waugh, a retired biologist from Alberta, says he spotted the deer struggling on the thin ice last month.

“It caught my eye that the female was down on the ice and every time she tried to get up, she would fall back down and she was splayed out in just, one of those positions that makes you go ‘ugh,’” he says.

Waugh, who now lives in Lanark, called the Department of Natural Resources, but after checking the ice, officials determined it was too thin to risk going out to rescue the deer.

A few hours later, Waugh spotted a DNR helicopter near the deer. The fawn ran to shore and the chopper came down close to the mother.

“The wash, because the ice was so smooth…the wash was so powerful that it actually started to push the deer,” says Waugh.

He says the deer eventually stopped struggling and went with the flow, while a DNR officer and the pilot directed the animal to shore.

Department officials say it’s not always practical to help wild animals in distress, but that they will assist on a case-by-case basis if it’s appropriate and safe.

Waugh captured the amazing scene on video and is now sharing the incredible story.

Storeowner Loyola MacDonald says her brother was one of the officers who helped the deer back to safety. She has been showing the video to customers at her general store in St. Andrews.

“Everybody I’ve shown it is more than impressed with it and was quite amazed at the situation and the wonderful outcome that happened with the deer,” she says.

Waugh says he is especially impressed with the ingenuity shown by the pilot.

“It was just brilliant…it was a solution exactly tailored to the situation.”

Waugh isn’t certain where the deer are now, but says they were spotted walking in the woods together shortly after they were rescued.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh