Hunting

When Bucks Go Wild

The whitetail rut always leaves us with some downright hilarious, if frightening, tales.

The whitetail rut always leaves us with some downright hilarious, if frightening, tales. The season of 2009 was no exception. Let's start with the whitetail "Darwin Award." In mid-afternoon on Nov. 9, a yearling deer leapt from a park into the lion den in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. After 20 wild minutes as two lionesses tried to kill the deer, which swam in and out of a moat as people rooted for the deer, authorities got the lions put away, but unfortunately had to euthanize the deer, as it had multiple wounds.


Then there were the bucks that picked fights they shouldn't have; for example, the News-Democrat reported that Arnold Harre, a farmer in rural Nashville, was shelling corn when a monster buck attacked his combine. The buck rammed the combine, then became stuck. Harre stopped, backed up and the buck broke free and ran away victorious. Farther north, in Wisconsin, a rutting 7-point buck wasn't as fortunate. The buck attacked a 640-pound concrete elk statue in the yard of Mark Brye in rural Viroqua. Brye found the buck dead with a crushed skull about 20 feet away from the then-toppled faux bull elk, according to the LaCrosse Tribune.


More common are the bucks that get rutted up and crash through windows. But a buck that smashed through the plate-glass window of Echo Valley Meats in Bartonville, Ill., seemed a little more vindictive than most; however, the venison processor's owner, Dave Alwan, saw it as a compliment. He told the Journal Star, a newspaper in Peoria, Ill., "We're so good, they're just dying to get in."


There were also a few close calls for hunters. The Muskegon Chronicle, for example, reported that Jeff Holtrop, a Fruitland Township, Mich., resident, shot a big deer and tracked it into standing corn. When he got into the field the buck attacked, slamming him to the ground. His father, Jim, heard Jeff's screams and killed the buck after Jeff had fought with it for 15 minutes. Well, maybe bucks are allowed a fighting chance, but a tale from Minnesotan Scott Wundinich is extraordinary. He'd just finished field-dressing a deer when a wolf pack came to claim it.


"I was scared," Wundinich told the Star-Tribune, a Minneapolis-St. Paul area newspaper. "I've been hunting since I was 12 and I've never seen anything like this." Wundinich stayed in his treestand for 45 minutes before scurrying from the scene.


Sometimes even does get riled. Michele Brewer, who operates a jewelry store in Tarboro, N.C., was run over on Dec. 3 by a herd of deer stampeding down a sidewalk. "I don't remember being hit," Brewer told the Rocky Mount Telegram. "My husband and the guys over at the barbershop said I went airborne-flipping me probably 3 feet up in the air."


So passes the rut of 2009.


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