Wildlife officials say animal has excellent prognosis for survival.
ROCKAWAY, N.J. -- A young deer that had a hunter's arrow embedded in its face, gaining international attention, has an excellent prognosis for survival, according to wildlife officials who performed the procedure.
On Saturday, representatives from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife watched and waited in Susan Darrah's Rockaway Township backyard for the third day in a row, to see if the deer with an arrow embedded in its face would return to eat.
The waiting paid off.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., Darrah said the deer, along with four or five other deer, came to her backyard to eat the corn, apples and pears left out for the animals.
The Fish and Wildlife representative shot the deer with a tranquilizer as Darrah watched from her window.
Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, said biologists were able to tranquilize the 5-month old male deer and remove an arrow that had pierced completely through the animal's head. He said after the deer was anesthetized, the biologists were able to unscrew the arrow head from the shaft and pull it out.
Darrah went outside as two technicians began treating the deer. She said they applied cream, dressed the wound and checked the condition of the animal.
The arrow had entered the left side of the deer's head, traveled through the nasal cavity and exited out the right side without any damage to any major arteries or organs, according to Ragonese.
Upon examination, the biologists noted the puncture wounds were not infected and were already starting to heal, Ragonese said. Preventative antibiotics were applied and the wounds were expected to heal naturally with licking from the mother doe.
Darrah said she and the wildlife representatives stayed with the deer as the effects of the tranquilizer wore off and watched as the animal got up on wobbly legs, walked on its own to the pasture in the back of her yard and laid down. She said the animal was resting comfortably Saturday night.
"I'm so excited! I'm so happy," she exclaimed. According to the representative from Fish and Wildlife, the animal will be "just fine," Darrah reported.
A tag was also placed on the deer's ear and its tail painted purple for tracking purposes.
"I tint my hair purple. They said they painted the tail purple in my honor so I can watch his progress," she said.
Ragonese says the arrow removal was performed at a wooded private property in Morris County where the deer had been spotted several times over the past week. He expressed thanks to Darrah for alerting the DEP and for her generosity in the use of her home and helping the biologists.
Living in a heavily wooded area near Splitrock Reservoir, Darrah is used to seeing deer in her backyard.
But on Nov. 1, this one in particular caught her eye. The deer had an arrow sticking through its face, in one side under its eye and out the other.
Darrah first saw the deer, which she lovingly calls "Steve Martin" in honor of the comedian's similar sight gag, Friday at noon Nov. 1 and then again later that evening.
She said it returned twice that Saturday, and state Division of Fish and Wildlife officials came Monday to try to rescue it.
But the deer didn't return again until about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"I've been watching vigilantly, but it could have returned each day and I just missed it," said Darrah.
Fish and Wildlife officials returned Thursday to try to catch the deer but didn't find it.
But an hour after they left, Darrah said, it returned to nibble on her pear trees and feed corn, which she put out to lure the deer in.
"It's attracting a ton of other deer too, obviously," she said.
Darrah said the deer didn't appear to be in distress or pain, but she hoped Fish and Wildlife would be able to remove the arrow.
"They're determined to get it," she said. "They're doing a phenomenal job and really want to help."
State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said Fish and Wildlife wanted to catch the deer for humane reasons.
Bow hunting season in New Jersey runs from Sept. 28 to January or February depending on the area.
While he said it's clear someone was hunting the deer, Hajna said he couldn't speculate on how this incident happened or the intentions of the hunter.
Darrah said she's not against hunting and hopes the incident was an accident.
"I know hunters, and they would never do this on purpose," she said. "I'm sure it wasn't intentional."
Darrah said she never expected the deer to get as much attention as it has. Videos and photos have made their way through news outlets and social media.
"I cannot believe this thing has gone viral. I'm getting calls from Sweden, Germany, Denmark, all asking about the deer," said Darrah.
Contributing: The Associated Press