PDA

View Full Version : How would a deer react to a boy?



Deepthought
12-16-2018, 06:22 AM
A 12 year old is attempting to hunt a deer in the wild by himself with makeshift weapons. I'm wondering how a deer would react to seeing a young human for the first time. Would it flee? Would it flee if the human were on the other side of a river or are they so dumb/scared that they feel the need to run even then? What if the human surprised them from a hiding spot? What if there were two deer, an adult and a baby? Would they fight or run away in terror like in one of those 'lion kills zebra from a herd' sort of thing, disregarding their ties of kinship? Would they think that the human isn't much of a match? And if/when they do realize it, would they go from defense to offense? And how aggressive would they be (eg ensuring the human is maimed/killed, or just enough to run away?) Would one deer go to the aid of the other (if it were a parent)? What if the human showed he was actually killing or critically injuring the deer, but via entrapment and knife? Would the other still go to to help?

Helix
12-16-2018, 06:29 AM
What sort of deer?

Mostly they run.

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 06:45 AM
There are sorts of deer? xD It hadn't occurred to me; I thought they were some kind of universal generics ala house spiders.

As you can see, they're a bit like aliens to me.

Lauram6123
12-16-2018, 07:17 AM
I live in a neighborhood teeming with White-Tailed deer. (I'm in South Carolina)


I'm wondering how a deer would react to seeing a young human for the first time. They would run. Period. If they hear you, they freeze. (They have amazing hearing. They can hear me talking inside of my house and they freeze.)

Would it flee? Oh yes.

Would it flee if the human were on the other side of a river or are they so dumb/scared that they feel the need to run even then? From my experience, if they see you, they will run. It doesn't matter what is in between you and them. This, of course, is if they are not accustomed to people. The deer in my neighborhood will always run from people, but have become amazingly used to cars.

What if the human surprised them from a hiding spot? You mean like if a person was hiding, like in a deer blind? They would run if they sensed you were there.

What if there were two deer, an adult and a baby? Would they fight or run away in terror like in one of those 'lion kills zebra from a herd' sort of thing, disregarding their ties of kinship? Deer do not fight. They run. I've seen mothers run and the babies always follow closely behind, unless they are trapped and can't follow.

Would they think that the human isn't much of a match? A deer is not a predator, so it's not really about being a match. They startle super easily and are on constant guard. They don't want any confrontation. They want to eat plants and be left alone.

And if/when they do realize it, would they go from defense to offense? There is no offense with the deer I've seen. Like ever. However, this may not be true with a Buck in some kind of mating situation.

And how aggressive would they be (eg ensuring the human is maimed/killed, or just enough to run away?) I'm not really sure what this is asking.

Would one deer go to the aid of the other (if it were a parent)? Mother deer will hang around the area if their babies are trapped or in jeopardy, but they don't really "help" other deer.

What if the human showed he was actually killing or critically injuring the deer, but via entrapment and knife? Would the other still go to to help? The deer I've dealt with do not seem capable of revenge or justice. Their priority would be to get out of the area ASAP.

Hope that helps!

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 07:28 AM
Very helpful, thanks!

Brightdreamer
12-16-2018, 08:59 AM
Have you read any Gary Paulsen, particularly his Brian Robeson books (starting with the classic Hatchet) and the nonfiction book Guts (about stories that inspired the Brian Robeson series)? Similar setup on Brian Robeson, a boy in a survival situation making his own tools and learning as he goes. In Guts, Paulsen goes into his own hunting experiences with primitive weapons as a kid... and also describes how deer - especially deer used to human interaction - can indeed attack if annoyed, and I'd imagine if they were cornered and had no other option they'd lash out. (Hint: hooves are sharp. Very sharp. And very fast. For that reason, I think trapping a deer and expecting to get close enough to end it with a knife is... probably not your best option, unless you want to show that your MC doesn't have a clue what they're doing, or is only used to smaller game.)

Definitely do some research on the geographic location you're planning to use (or approximate, if you're inventing the location) to find out what kind of animals one will find there, and what species of deer your MC's pursuing; put the wrong kind of deer in the wrong environment and you'll lose all credibility with anyone who has any outdoor experience at all.

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 09:45 AM
Yep, read Hatchet in school. Was thinking about that when writing. I was going for a plan where the MC uses his shirt--->ribbons--->rope --->lasso and a small deer steps into it (with the front leg) and he pulls to trip it. After a messy chase where he's half dragged, he catches up and stabs it to death. Still thinking about how to make the deer step into it; he could leave the lasso near a drinking spot and wait, but that's too passive and overly reliant on luck.

It'd be an unspecified location, so any kind would be okay. I suppose the right plants and so forth would have to match location of the deer- can't have them alongside suicide palms.

morngnstar
12-16-2018, 09:47 AM
I live in Western Washington in a semi-rural neighborhood with lots of deer that are very accustomed to humans. They generally freeze when they see me, and kind of look at you. (Honestly I think they're more listening at me, but it looks the same. They point their head straight at you to focus on you with both their ears.) If you make a sudden movement they will run.

No, mothers won't do anything to protect babies. They have no effective defenses against predators except to run, so no reason to have an instinct to try. I've seen a mother jump a fence that her baby couldn't, and just wait on the other side to see if the baby would eventually figure something out. They want to protect their young, but the best way for them to do that is to show them which way to run and hope they follow.

Brightdreamer
12-16-2018, 10:03 AM
Yep, read Hatchet in school. Was thinking about that when writing. I was going for a plan where the MC uses his shirt--->ribbons--->rope --->lasso and a small deer steps into it (with the front leg) and he pulls to trip it. After a messy chase where he's half dragged, he catches up and stabs it to death. Still thinking about how to make the deer step into it; he could leave the lasso near a drinking spot and wait, but that's too passive and overly reliant on luck.

It'd be an unspecified location, so any kind would be okay. I suppose the right plants and so forth would have to match location of the deer- can't have them alongside suicide palms.


That doesn't sound particularly practical, IMHO, though you might want to look up how to build a snare. I don't believe they're generally used for animals the size of a deer, but it would give you an idea how to do it. Standing there, waiting, without giving yourself away for... hours, maybe, until a deer wanders along, and then pulling the rope to catch it... is that a thing that would even work? A modified snare would seem more likely to work, though even that's a bit of a longshot.

Also, on that getting close to it and stabbing it thing... remember: Sharp. Fast. Hooves. (Or just read Paulsen's Guts book. He describes watching a deer at a park that was so used to people a little boy was hand-feeding it mints. Mommy wanted pictures, so she encouraged it. The kid started getting cute, pulling the mint away... everyone ignored the deer's warning stamp of annoyance... did not end well for the kid.) You might do better to try chasing it off a cliff, though I'm not sure if that would work on a deer or not.

frimble3
12-16-2018, 12:32 PM
A high enough cliff would work - the Plains Indians used that on buffalo. Of course, the boy might have trouble getting down the cliff to the deer. And if the deer isn't dead, he and his little knife are going to be looking at a sea of flailing hooves, if any legs are left unbroken.

What is this boy's background? He seems woefully unprepared. And, if he's building a snare, why isn't he snaring something more suitable, like rabbits?
Oh, and, depending on the snare, what if he merely catches a deer, alive? Deer may prefer to run than fight, but if it's caught and desperate, it's hooves and horns time! (Only until it gets free, I don't imagine it would stick around to wreak vengeance on the kid. Unless it gets the kid down before it gets loose, then the boy may get a major hoof-stabbing as the deer panicks.)

Oh, exciting additional action - if the kid should find a way to kill a deer, or even find one recently dead, he might get competition from local coyotes, wolves and bears, who probably with won't be much impressed by a kid with a knife and a not-really rope. Rule for scavengers - if you can chase off the competition, you feast!

Bolero
12-16-2018, 06:57 PM
And the surplus of meat (if no scavengers) will go off in a few days at most, depending on the temperature.

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the great answers, gives plenty to work with.

I plan on getting the boy to go for a baby one for greater ease. Sort of tripping it with the makeshift rope and jumping on its back from the side or some such place to avoid potentially dangerous flailing, when it's trying to get up to run away. A bit like a rodeo? I'd prefer to have it killed in a more active fashion for the emotional impact it would have on him, but it isn't a requirement. The boy can see in the dark- perhaps killing one when it's sleeping is a possibility, although deer are frequently nocturnal as well.

Having the deer used to humans to some degree would be helpful in getting close. Are deer living near campsites somewhat okay with people? Would finding an old bear trap to work with be believable? I think imagine be a host of regulations involved if it were near human dwellings, so further out would be more likely to work.

The boy comes from an unusually sheltered place and is mostly just book-smart with little practical skill. I plan on having the deer meat improperly cooked and he'll get sick, although getting rotten would be excellent as well- he wouldn't have a way to preserve anything.

Brightdreamer
12-16-2018, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the great answers, gives plenty to work with.

I plan on getting the boy to go for a baby one for greater ease. Sort of tripping it with the makeshift rope and jumping on its back from the side or some such place to avoid potentially dangerous flailing, when it's trying to get up to run away. A bit like a rodeo? I'd prefer to have it killed in a more active fashion for the emotional impact it would have on him, but it isn't a requirement. The boy can see in the dark- perhaps killing one when it's sleeping is a possibility, although deer are frequently nocturnal as well.

You... seem rather attached to this unlikely, dangerous scenario, here. A young fawn couldn't hold a human's weight; assuming the boy got close enough, he'd just crush it to the ground.

As for killing having emotional impact - again, reread Gary Paulsen, particularly Hatchet and Brian's Winter. You don't need a massive chase scene for an emotional impact.


Having the deer used to humans to some degree would be helpful in getting close. Are deer living near campsites somewhat okay with people? Would finding an old bear trap to work with be believable? I think imagine be a host of regulations involved if it were near human dwellings, so further out would be more likely to work.

Woah, wait - regulations? The kid's worried about regulations? If it's survival situation, he's going to need to eat. If it's not, why is he hunting this deer? I had thought it was a bit like Brian Robeson: an unprepared city kid out of his element, needs to eat, knows animals are edible and has to try his hand at hunting. Now he might be able to do this near housing and campsites? So, the hunt... just for kicks? Is he a budding sociopath or what? (Also, near civilization means he might have access to firearms - why the runaround with a rope and a knife?)


The boy comes from an unusually sheltered place and is mostly just book-smart with little practical skill. I plan on having the deer meat improperly cooked and he'll get sick, although getting rotten would be excellent as well- he wouldn't have a way to preserve anything.

Improperly cooked deer meat can also give you all sorts of "fun" parasites and diseases, not just an upset stomach. Plus, as others have mentioned, you stand a risk of attracting scavengers - and a kid who, in all the books he's read to get book-smart, still thinks lassoing a deer and chasing it with a knife is the best way to hunt (and doesn't even try, say, a deadfall trap, or a spear, or bow and arrow... or start with smaller game, at least) isn't going to be much competition for them, TBH.

I don't mean to be picking hard on this, but I'm having trouble envisioning what you're going for. At the very least, what books did this kid read that caused him to come up with this method of hunting?

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 10:04 PM
I need to work on clarity; people in the SYW as well as IRL mentioned it. Yes, crushing it to the ground would be much more convenient; the rodeo reference meant the attempt to suppress movement.

I hadn't meant activity in the form of a chase, but rather the act of killing by hand vs a killing trap. Any sort of live entrapment, as you said, would be good. I remember that part in Hatchet, but will need to read Brian's Winter.

As for regulations, I meant that the permissibility of bear traps in the vicinity of a campsite would mean that they would be nonexistent and therefore not believable. The season would not be a time to go camping so there wouldn't be many people around, but he has to avoid being seen in general due to plot. Certainly, he could find things to help in some lone abandoned cabin. For most part, the scenes take place in the woods.

The books he'd have read for skills is flexible, so it can be changed. I was thinking Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl where the father outlines several unorthodox methods for catching pheasants and thus adapted via child-logic.

Chase
12-16-2018, 10:37 PM
I've hunted mule and whitetail deer in Montana for fifty seasons. Deer in the wild universally run as a defense mechanism. Yes, the antlers of bucks and the hard, pointed hooves of adult bucks and does can inflict serious damage when either is cornered or lying injured.

Deer in captivity or where long-tolerated in urban gardens can become aggressive. As one person pointed out, they stamp the ground as warning like angry sheep or goats. When fighting or defending themselves, both does and bucks rear on hing legs to flail in front of them with hooves.

Fawns are immature deer, and when muleys and whitetail fawns are most vulnerable to be killed or captured, they have whitish spots on both sides of darker coats. Adults will have run, even lactating mothers.

I have a few seasons experience hunting smaller Pacific northwest blacktail deer, which mostly behave the same as Montana mountain muleys and river whitetails.

However, if I were a hungry youth in the wild, I'd try for slower-moving game than deer. For instance, porcupines are quite slow and easily incapacitated with a long stick or staff. Their underbellies are soft and unprotected by spines.

Edit: To hunt porcupines, look for fresh patches of bark chewed from slender trees. The patches are like beacons. For those reasons, porcupines in Montana are protected except when needed for an emergency food sources.

frimble3
12-16-2018, 10:48 PM
Then why doesn't he try for pheasants or grouse, or whatever are available?
I still don't understand 'why'. There are lots of easier prey. It's your emphasis on the 'emotional impact', combined with cabins and people near enough that there are bear trap regulations, makes me suspect that he doesn't need to kill the deer, but that he's been reading the sort of book that's made him think this is going to be a 'now, I am a man!' moment.
Send him fishing - all needs is a line, a hook, bait, and something he can kill the dying fish with.

Deepthought
12-16-2018, 11:24 PM
Porcupines are mainly nocturnal, from what I've read, less so in Northern America. They sleep in dens and/or trees; would it be possible to knock one down with a rock as one does with fruit? Finding one in a log seems to be feasible as well though. I think this idea is the easiest one to go with, as it minimizes the need for skill and tools.

I'd like to try using animals that are as universal as possible, but the suggestions of fish, birds, etc. are common enough. It was the emotional impact of death I wanted to go for. Deer seem so much more human than smaller quadrupedal game and I thought it would be a good idea to create greater trauma in that department. The task of actually catching a fawn appears to be more trouble, but its size and warmth and sound when in physical contact would make for a more intimate scene, particularly as it would take longer for it to be killed from an inexperienced person stabbing at semi-random, feeling it die while holding it down with his body. I realize now that it seems much more implausible, especially when access to resources are limited. If it were possible, I would prefer to utilize that method. It holds symbolic meaning as well, as the MC is attempting to find his family and that animal-parent thing ties in.

KBooks
12-17-2018, 12:28 AM
I mean, killing any animal would be pretty traumatic for a kid who's never had to before. Unless he's grown up on a farm or hunting his whole life and is used to seeing animals as a source of meat... and using his hands to turn them from soft fuzzy thing to meat... it's going to be an eye-opener. Porcupine can be just as realistic as deer.

If you've ever watched deer, or spent a lot of time around them or elk, they are remarkably graceful and great at leaping over things. Elk can jump a fence. I'm not sure as a reader I wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the deer-tripping method, as well as wonder why if there were all these easier things to hunt, the MC wasn't going for one of them. It's certainly fine to hunt a deer if that's all there is, or if you're an experienced hunter who can take one out easily with a bow, but with easy game, and the logistics issue, it just raises the question of whether it feels forced.

Deepthought
12-17-2018, 02:27 AM
To clarify, by method, I meant manual killing. Entrapment by any method would be fine. And again, a cabin in the middle of nowhere with useful things inside would be a convenient way to expand available resources. Even if the shirt rope succeeded in snagging a foreleg, I imagine the fabric would snap fairly easily.

I could make the idea of pursuing venison over other game more plausible by having the ignorant MC thinking it would provide a good stock for the next few days in just one kill, thus making it the better choice overall in his mind. Of course, he'd realize the spoilage problem later on, as well as other uncalculated problems, and thus realizes superior approaches for the future. I think his lack of knowledge and slanted logic can make it easier for the reader to understand why that course of action would be taken, even if it'd be far from what they themselves would do.

Brightdreamer
12-17-2018, 03:02 AM
If you need this scene, have you considered having the boy find a pre-wounded animal, like a fawn trapped by a logfall? It's already down and weak, so it's an opportunity kill, but still blood on his hands, and the meat storage and scavenger problems remain.

Deepthought
12-17-2018, 04:47 AM
If you need this scene, have you considered having the boy find a pre-wounded animal, like a fawn trapped by a logfall? It's already down and weak, so it's an opportunity kill, but still blood on his hands, and the meat storage and scavenger problems remain.

I thought it might be a bit deus ex machina-ish, although there are other ways of getting food, so his survival wouldn't be the issue there. It's a good idea though; an injured animal would be an easier catch for sure.

Bing Z
12-17-2018, 07:36 PM
I live in a very urban suburb in New Jersey that has seen more and more deer (not sure which kind) recently. They've become pretty common during my long walks early in the mornings or late in the afternoons ,but they never stand still long enough for me to grab my phone and take photos of them.

Except this one.
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4841/44537471900_39437e6298_t.jpg
(https://www.flickr.com/photos/131535162@N02/46354300441/)
This is the roadside of a thoroughfare and I think the fawn thought it was trapped between the guard rail and the wire net. The fawn was visibly shaken but didn't run away. So I think if you want a deer to not run away from a human, have it trapped already.

D. E. Wyatt
12-17-2018, 08:52 PM
https://i.makeagif.com/media/4-21-2015/I7zapm.gif

frimble3
12-18-2018, 01:08 AM
And that's a big guy, with a gun - a kid would have no chance. Heck, there are probably coyotes following this deer, waiting for leftovers.

Deepthought
12-18-2018, 03:24 AM
I think I can pull it off by stacking the odds but not to the point of a free lunch. Eg it'd have to be young, and injured/partially pre-trapped/sick which would still be tough contest, even if the boy had chanced upon tools in a cabin.

D. E. Wyatt
12-18-2018, 03:45 AM
And that's a big guy, with a gun - a kid would have no chance. Heck, there are probably coyotes following this deer, waiting for leftovers.

If a deer decides to lay into you they're not content to run you off. They will CHASE. YOU. DOWN. and dance on your skull.

frimble3
12-18-2018, 05:48 AM
If a deer decides to lay into you they're not content to run you off. They will CHASE. YOU. DOWN. and dance on your skull.
Just as well deer don't have houses, or they'd have stuffed human heads over the mantle?

kikazaru
12-18-2018, 07:21 AM
Wild deer who are not accustomed to people will run. They are prey animals and their first response is to flee.

As an aside, we've got a ton of white tail deer in my town (and now wolves who have followed them in) and the deer are ridiculously tame and they do not run when they see you. I've had them on my deck eating from my bird feeder and looking in my front door begging for food. However it's been my experience that females with young are a completely different critter - they are incredibly aggressive and they have killed dogs here and chased people with dogs. A friend had to stop and give a complete stranger a ride to safety after seeing this woman being stalked by a deer on the street.

Chase
12-19-2018, 06:20 AM
https://i.makeagif.com/media/4-21-2015/I7zapm.gif

This footage is a tad convenient. The camera follows the action? In the original, it had two or more scenes. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but this one smacks of an anti-hunter production on a par with the famous film footage of Bigfoot.

Helix
12-19-2018, 09:16 AM
This footage is a tad convenient. The camera follows the action? In the original, it had two or more scenes. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but this one smacks of an anti-hunter production on a par with the famous film footage of Bigfoot.

Are you suggesting it's a trained deer or that it's a bloke with hideously skinny and misshapen legs in a deer suit? Because the Bigfoot footage was so obviously fake that it's a surprise that anyone fell for it.

WeaselFire
12-19-2018, 06:25 PM
Plenty of deer are taken each year by bow hunters. Camouflage, lack of movement and scent mitigation are the keys. I've had deer walk within 10 feet of me without fear. Blinds or stands can help.

I honestly can't imagine a child in the world you describe who has not been trained by someone else, or at least observed others, in hunting skills. They would be accompanied by an adult or older mentor on their first hunts. They would at least need help and training in cleaning and butchering what they kill. It would be really strange for a child with no skills and no exposure to the wild to take a deer.

Jeff

Richard White
12-19-2018, 08:09 PM
And trust me, until you've done it the first few times, learning how to dress a deer without hitting something and ruining big chunks of the meat, learning how to deal with the smell and blood ... not something a completely inexperienced person is going to do well, esp. without proper tools. Besides, how is he going to store the left-over meat?

He'd be better off trying to trap rabbits and squirrels with a snare or clocking them with a big rock. One or two squirrels will keep him fed and they're much faster to gut and cook than deer with minimal leftovers to attract scavengers. And even then, with no experience and no mentor, that's going to be tough.

Chase
12-19-2018, 08:26 PM
Are you suggesting it's a trained deer or that it's a bloke with hideously skinny and misshapen legs in a deer suit? Because the Bigfoot footage was so obviously fake that it's a surprise that anyone fell for it.

No. However, other scenarios than this ab absurdo argument make better sense.

In 50 years of harvesting big game for food and not sport and 36 years working with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, I've seen evidence of hunters hurt by horns, antlers, and flailing hooves of downed animals, but never hard evidence of out and out deer attacks.

I've never visited a game farm where deer and other animals are kept for the "hunting" purposes, but brochures depict animals not trained yet confined and more used to the presence of feeders and other humans. I'm still searching for how such a clip happened with a moving camera not hand-held. My comparison to the Bigfoot film is this one strikes me just as suspicious. Longer versions of the clip I found even have closeups. I suspect a game farm or something close to it might bring together all the elements for such a clip.

This clip of an individual finding and bothering a neighbor's pet deer and being attacked is more believable:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11BS5FX6Q80

One undocumented bit of film doesn't make a case for deer hunting hunters.

Deepthought
12-20-2018, 09:02 AM
And trust me, until you've done it the first few times, learning how to dress a deer without hitting something and ruining big chunks of the meat, learning how to deal with the smell and blood ... not something a completely inexperienced person is going to do well, esp. without proper tools. Besides, how is he going to store the left-over meat?

He'd be better off trying to trap rabbits and squirrels with a snare or clocking them with a big rock. One or two squirrels will keep him fed and they're much faster to gut and cook than deer with minimal leftovers to attract scavengers. And even then, with no experience and no mentor, that's going to be tough.

Yes, he will mess it up and perhaps throw up in a nearby river. He'll fail in the storage attempts.

Even small animals will be tough, but the plot only requires it for a short duration, so failure is okay. Just an initial attempt needs to be somewhat successful.

Deepthought
12-20-2018, 09:06 AM
Plenty of deer are taken each year by bow hunters. Camouflage, lack of movement and scent mitigation are the keys. I've had deer walk within 10 feet of me without fear. Blinds or stands can help.

I honestly can't imagine a child in the world you describe who has not been trained by someone else, or at least observed others, in hunting skills. They would be accompanied by an adult or older mentor on their first hunts. They would at least need help and training in cleaning and butchering what they kill. It would be really strange for a child with no skills and no exposure to the wild to take a deer.

Jeff

The scent disguise is a good one, I'd completely forgotten about that. The Warriors series did help in how animals react as well as heightened senses.

Hunting is actually only a small part of the story, but I'm hoping that putting multiple factors in favor of the MC should tilt the board enough to catch one.

D.L. Shepherd
01-23-2019, 04:08 AM
If you decide for it to be a baby deer, make sure to research how old it will be at the time of year that your book takes place. If it is a very young fawn, the mothers are more protective. I've had two female white tails snort at me and take a step closer when they had a young fawn nearby, (one of the times I had a dog with me, so she was actually snorting at the dog).

Later in the fall, the fawns are a lot more self sufficient. They'll still be near mom, but not necessarily have to be protected by her. But they'll also be bigger and faster, of course.

Bolero
02-07-2019, 12:39 PM
On deer attacking people, the deer in Richmond Park, London are a wild animal that is used to people walking past and object to people getting too close. Mothers with fawns in spring and wound up rutting stags in Autumn can and do express their opinions on this.
e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-45975826

Edited to add - the point deepthroat made about emotional impact being the reason for choosing a deer - thinking about that further, I was wondering about a rabbit - and the MC having had a pet rabbit when he was younger. When he catches a wild rabbit he is looking into eyes like those of his late pet, and it feels like he is holding his late pet - that would have emotional impact.
Was also thinking about how hard it is to kill things - or at least I found it very hard the first time I had to dispatch a mouse injured by our cat - the cat had broken the mouse's back and wandered off and left it wriggling its front legs. Decided on tilting a paving slab back, putting front end of mouse under and letting go of paving slab. It worked.