yes, this is an awesome story as well as heartwarming. however, as a licensed wildlife rehabilitation as well as a certified animal behaviour specialist, I can honestly say this is very dangerous.......not that I wouldn't keep him either, but only if he was completely unable to be released back to the wild. I have had the pleasure of working with all kinds of wildlife, including tigers, and lions, and bears (oh my)! I have even been a veterinarian technologist zoo keeper.
When working with wildlife, no matter what age you got them or how long you've had them, there is ALWAYS a chance of danger and you must learn their moods and mating seasons.....here's why:
I was working at a the zoo where the owners had a Caribou (aka Reindeer) named Hersey. they had Hersey since he was 2 months old. he was magnificent. he was 8 years old when I started working for the zoo. All antlered animal as go through a period called "rut" when the velvet comes off the horns revealing the bones of the antlers and the mark of their mating season. this is a violent time as the bucks become extremely aggressive around a doe. the owner of the zoo decided to get a female so he could breed Hersey. I tried to explain to him that extra precautions we're needed as Hersey will now become aggressive, even deadly. A male will chase the female and will goudge her (impale her on his antlers) if she doesn't have the room to get away. while Hersey was in velvet, I would rub his massive antlers and learned how to avoid being impaled by them if he went on an attack. rut season came and my fears became real when Hersey impaled the female! the stupid owner decided to enter the pen against my warnings telling me that he had "raised Hersey from a baby and knew Hersey would never" hurt him. I called for backup over the radio then called the veterinarian for an ambulance for the female.....she was alive but badly injured. I had just hung up the phone when I watched in horror, Hersey impale the owner!!!! Hersey paraded around his pen with the owner on his antlers and it was up to me to save his life! I had told the owner several times that we needed a tranq gun just in case but he refused to get one saying we didn't need it. I had to think fast and sent my helpers to get the Hood off an old vehicle we had on the grounds. i had the guys carry the hood, using it as a shield, and I sent the vet in to get the female out of the pen. at the same time, I went in to get the owner. I had to get Hersey to throw the owner off his antlers....the owner, BTW, was screaming for us NOT to shoot Hersey!!!! so I got Hersey to focus on me which made him throw the owner and come after me. I had to keep his attention while the guys brought the paramedics in to pull the owner from the pen to safety then I had to get to safety!!!!!! the time I spent rubbing his antlers proved to be my lifesaver! I was able to turn my body so his antlers went around me instead of through me allowing me to use them as leverage to jump on his back.......he did give me some nasty cuts and bruises, tho. finally the owner was out as we're the rescue crew and my men we're out. that left me to get out. I ran like the Dickens to get to the fence, jumped as high as I could and climbed fiercely to get out of his reach before he could reach me. he nailed my foot with one of his small points but I ripped my foot away and got out of the pen alive.
The female and owner underwent surgery while my foot was sewn up and a surgical cast was placed on it. everyone survived and we were able to spare the life of Hersey too. unfortunately the zoo was permanently shut down and the owner was forced to endure quite the tongue lashing from a judge for not listening to me!!!!! I will never forget that ordeal as long as I live. today, Hersey and his female, now named Joy, are together in a properly sized enclosure on the owners farm. they have had 7 seasons of offspring and the owner stays clear of the pen during rut.
wild animals, no matter how tame they may appear, are still wild at heart and under the right circumstances can and will become deadly. it's no fault of their own, it's just bred into their DNA.....something man cannot change. you just need to be fully aware of what you are dealing with and be prepared to act when the circumstances demand it.