The dramatic helicopter rescue of a deer and her fawn trapped on thin ice on Antigonish Harbour was captured by a Nova Scotia man with a camera.

Ian Waugh, a retired biologist from Alberta, captured the amazing footage earlier this winter.

Waugh spotted the doe and fawn struggling out on the ice and notified the Department of Natural Resources. He said the doe struggled for hours, trying to stand up on the slippery ice but she kept falling.

The ice was too thin to attempt a rescue from shore.

Dave Farrell, DNR helicopter pilot, was the man behind the incredible rescue.

Farrell was able to use the downdraft from the helicopter's rotor to blow the deer to the shore. He hovered just four feet above the ice during the manoeuvre.

Farrell said this was not the first time he has used a helicopter to rescue an animal from the ice.

"It's a nice feeling, she was definitely in distress," he said.

At first the doe struggled, but then she just relaxed and let the force of the wind from the blades push her to the safety of the shore.

"It's an elegant solution, it's a very simple solution, it's one that one wouldn't think immediately off the top would work," said Waugh.

"Yet, watching it unfold, the deer seemed to be going for a ride."