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Learn From Each Other

by Deer Breeders Gazette
Date Posted: 01-01-2007

A friend of mine asked me to put this story in print as a lesson learned... so here goes.
This story is about me, Debbie and my husband John and is yet another story of a bottle fed buck gone bad.  First let me say that, I do not blame this one on the buck involved but my own negligence. Once the older bucks are in hard antler, I use caution and do not enter the pens.  I have heard the deer stories and try to heed the warnings.   Luckily, all of our bucks had their antlers removed prior to this day.  January 8, 2007, started out as any other day, I meandered around doing my regular chores of feeding and cleaning some waterers, counting heads, etc. then I entered our feed shed. That is when my sons’ Australian Shepherd distracted me as she jumped out of the truck window and landed on some pipe, I was worried about her breaking or spraining her leg. As I watched for her  - not realizing at that time that she was just chasing a squirrel.

Normally, I am hesitant to even move a few feet away from that window where I feed my deer, to get food out of the barrels. But, apparently I had already unlatched the 2’ x 2’ door. Then after being distracted I went on to feed the 2 year old bucks in an adjoining pen. I placed Sadie- the Aussie in the stay position by the truck as I fed the deer in the next pen, Sadie sat patiently by the feed shed & truck, until I heard something in the shed that she was sitting next to- She jumped up and went around to the other side of the truck.  So, I presumed she had knocked something over, perhaps a shovel or rake. Then I walked back up to the feed shed to see that the feed door was unlatched. At that point, my heart sank and I knew when I opened the door to look in and the does were coming in to eat, that my Big Guy wasn’t in the pen (he is usually protective and keeps them away). I also knew that was the noise that I heard, he had jumped through that window. So, I hurried to feed the deer in the last pen and then hurried to the house and announced my findings to my husband (he works 2nd shift and was just waking up) we then rushed around getting ready to go search for this deer.  My husband went to pump up the tires on the four-wheeler, while I was loading darts and had a syringe of tranquilizer in my hand. I then went to the garage to talk to my husband to plan our strategy and there in a 10 foot opening between the car port and the garage well....  I had walked into the center of that area ( much like a matador in the middle of the arena) and there within six feet of me- Big Guy was looking at me. I knew with his ears laid back and by his stance that I was in trouble. I yelled and told my husband that Big Guy was in the back yard- not to make any sudden movements. Of course, as soon as I took a step Big Guy came towards me- pushing -then I tried to
step to the side to run past him to open the gate to the unbred does. But needless to say, I only made about four more steps before he hit me and pinned me against the corner of the garage, on a bank beside the garage- the next thing I knew I was being thrown to the ground like a dish rag and at the same time my hand went through my husbands garage window. Somewhere in the commotion, I realized I had to use the tranquilizer to get him back into his pen- somehow, I kept my thoughts together long enough to turn and hit the only open spot that I could see-  the back of his neck. I got him!  Just about that time my husband came around the corner to see Big Guy pushing at me and I am sure by the pain I feel today- was my ribs, against the garage. My husband ran and tried to body slam Big Guy ( Big Guy-probably weighs in close to 275-300+ lbs), my husband told me later that he didnt know what he was thinking when he tried to tackle that deer and when he didnt even budge, he had to think uh-oh!  We will leave out all of the things John was saying or otherwise the story would be filled with bleep, bleeps.  After John had put this deer in a head lock, he put one hand under the body, behind the leg closest to him and grabbed the opposite leg, he was trying very hard to keep this deer from getting loose and using his hooves on him. So, while he was wrestling the deer ( remember, he didnt know that I had already zapped him in the back of the neck with tranquilizer) I ran to get more tranquilizer at this time. My husband was dragged through the mud for what had to seem an eternity, and as I ran back down over that bank I slipped in the mud, fell on my behind, jumped up, ran over and gave Big Guy more tranquilizer and with that he backed off staring strangely at my husband, so, John backed up to the basement door to get on the other side of that door and of course, it was locked.( John said it was like something youd see in a horror movie with that door being locked.) He was waiting on Big Guy to charge him but instead he stood still a few moments before he laid down. As soon as I caught my breathe, I called some of the neighbors to help load Big Guy on the stretcher and get him back into the pen, because, I knew I couldn’t do any lifting with my ribs hurting. I cannot thank my neighbors Mike, Jim and Greg enough, not to mention all of those who offered to help out while I was convalescing. My one neighbor Mike said he knew it had to be bad when I asked for help. Badly bruised ribs has been my worst injury. I do realize how fortunate I am to be alive, had my husband not of been at home to distract Big Guy - I probably wouldn’t be writing this story. John declares that I drastically underplayed my part in this story... but I Thank God that this didn’t happen to an unsuspecting neighbor or child, and I Thank God that I had that tranquilizer in my hand, and on and on.  Did I mention the giggles from the ER ladies when they asked what had happened to
me and I replied that I was hit by a deer and they asked if it was in a car and I said NO. She then looked puzzled as my husband tried to explain that we raise deer and one had gotten out.  

Lesson Learned, It pays to stay focused and not get sidetracked. I hope and pray that our story helps someone
else. Please be careful when bottle feeding bucks – at an older age they can be very dangerous. Turns out this
buck had torn up the ground for about a 30 foot section trying to get into the pen with his rival buck. I must have
been the first person to cross his path.

Another friend of mine, Andy asked me if he could ask a question, I said sure. You see Big Guy had broken his
main beam, last year while he was still in velvet, Andy asked me if Big Guy hadnt broken his antlers would we have cut them off. I replied No, we wouldnt have. Then he began to ask me if I ever thought that this was in Gods plan and I told him, that yes, I had already thought of this and thanks for confirmation. God does works in ways that we will never understand- especially his foresight. 

By The Way….Now I know what Grandma felt like when she got ran over by a reindeer. haha!

My Boss, Dr. Brent Carlson told me that I had to add to my story, that the only thing I was thinking of when that buck had me pinned to the garage was how I was going to be late for work that day at the Fulton County Veterinary Hospital.   Well.............. what can I say!

God Bless Everyone and May you have a Great 2007 Fawn Season!

From: Timber Ridge Whitetails
  6158 Timber Ridge Road
  Big Cove Tannery, Pa. 17212

This article was printed with permission from:

Deer Breeders Gazette
242 Coaltown Rd
Boyers, PA  16020