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Gored by a Buck: Deer That Fought Back

Brow Tines and Backstrap

Gored by a Buck: Deer That Fought Back

Posted 2024-04-09  by  Josh Honeycutt

These hunters came face to face with the business end of big racks. Some survived, but others perished

Image: buck_aggressive_4

Most of the time, deer aren’t aggressive. But sometimes, they can be. Image by Jim Cumming

Deer hunters kill millions of whitetails every year. Rarely do deer return the favor. But sometimes, America’s No. 1 game animal strikes back. Consider these stories of hunters who were gored by bucks.

1. The Fergus Falls Deer Drive Fiasco

A hunter from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, had an encounter with a whitetail he won’t forget. In 2011, a hunting party was pushing through a property when member Don Stock was targeted by an injured buck. Stock wasn’t badly hurt, but the encounter was enough to leave him stiff, sore, and a bit agitated. He sure has a good story to tell.

2. Bowhunter Takes a Hit and Gets a Big Bruise

In this video, a bowhunter arrowed a buck. He blood-trailed it the afternoon of the shot but jumped it and backed out until the next morning. When he resumed the blood trail, he realized the buck was still alive. He’d only hit one lung, and the deer hadn’t died. The buck charged him but didn’t inflict much damage.

3. Arkansas Hunter Killed by Wounded Buck

Although it’s incredibly rare, whitetails occasionally kill deer hunters. In 2019, that unfortunate fate fell to a Marion County, Arkansas, deer hunter. Thomas Alexander, an experienced, 66-year-old hunter, shot a buck with his muzzleloader. As Alexander recovered the buck, it jumped up and gored him, leaving several puncture wounds. He called his family for help but later died at the hospital.

4. A Georgia Goring

Emanuel County, Georgia, hunter Jonathan Stevens bagged a big buck in a food plot, but the back end of the hunt didn’t go as planned. He thought the 200-yard shot at the 10-pointer was true, so he waited about 45 minutes and started blood-trailing. He and his wife followed good blood for about 50 yards and found the deer lying motionless in some vines. He reached down to grab the buck, and it attacked. He grabbed the buck’s rack, but the deer broke free and tore into his leg. A few seconds later, the deer bolted. Stevens looked down to see blood pouring from a thumb-sized hole on the inside of his thigh, filling his rubber boot. His leg went cold and numb. His wife rushed him to the hospital, and he was quickly transferred to a trauma unit. Fortunately, he survived, but only barely. Later that night, his family recovered the buck.

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Jonathan Stevens nearly died from blood loss after taking an antler tine to an inner thigh. Image courtesy of Jonathan Stevens

5. The Infamous Buck-and-Hunter Battle

We’ve all seen it — that decades-old clip of a blacktail buck whipping up on an unsuspecting bowhunter. The poor chap took a beating but fortunately survived the encounter with only a few bruises and scratches.

6. Wisconsin Hunter Battled Buck, Didn’t Get to Keep It

You’d think a bowhunter who shed his blood to tag a buck would at least get to keep the buck to remember the harrowing tale. But a hunter from Waunakee, Wisconsin, didn’t get to. Instead, he was slapped with a fine for baiting the deer with corn, and wardens confiscated the buck. On top of that, he suffered significant puncture wounds, blood loss, frostbite and hypothermia from the dangerous encounter.

7. Injured Hunter Rescued from Drainage Ditch

Another Wisconsin deer hunter experienced the danger of a buck’s business end. One afternoon, he shot a deer and started tracking it soon after. The buck gored his right leg, and the hunter retreated into a nearby ditch line. First responders found his ATV and followed his tracks to the drainage ditch. He was seriously injured and also suffering from hypothermia because of subzero wind chills. Fortunately, he survived.

8. The TV Buck Brawl

A famous buck fight occurred during the filming of a Kentucky Afield television episode. A buck at the Salato Wildlife Education Center attacked host Dave Shuffet, biologist Lauren Schaaf and others. The struggle lasted about 45 minutes, and KDFWR employee Johnny Widener needed minor surgery to repair his leg.

9. Buck Impales and Body-Slams Deer Hunter

In 2012, a New Hampshire deer hunter experienced deer behavior he never expected. Two hours into a hunt, Everett Gray shot an 8-pointer. When he walked up to retrieve the deer, it jumped up, jabbed 4 inches of antler into Gray’s abdomen and lifted him off the ground. The buck body-slammed Gray into the ground and started pushing him down the hill. He recovered, but the memory sometimes keeps him up at night.

10. Deer Kills Kentucky Hunter

Kentucky deer hunter Jared Hausfeld was 37 years old and still in his prime when he went toe to hoof with a big Bluegrass State buck. The details of the sad 2023 event are still unknown, but we know he struggled with the buck during a post-shot recovery effort.

Image: Epic Hunter Vid

Always ensure downed game is actually down before approaching it. Image courtesy of YouTube/Epic Mountain Hunter

11. Muzzleloader Hunter Shoots Buck, Gets Attacked by It

A muzzleloader hunter shot a great buck, dropping it in its tracks. He thought the deer was finished, but it wasn’t. When he approached the deer, it jumped up and went after the hunter. The hunter finished off the buck, though.

12. Gun Hunter Blood-Trails Buck but Leaves His Own

Bobby Neames of Louisiana also shed serious blood during a deer hunt. In 2013, he met a 6-pointer in hand-to-antler combat, and the yearling buck tore into him. Neames can still remember the buck’s grunts and stench as it repeatedly stabbed him with its antler tines.

The Big Takeaway

Almost all these incidents followed situations when hunters were caught off guard by bucks they didn’t expect to still be alive or aggressive. Then the bucks bowed up, squared off and attacked.

The big takeaway is to always be mindful and give deer the respect they deserve. Never approach a live buck, as they can be aggressive. Likewise, when blood-trailing a deer, always ensure the deer is dead before getting too close. Of course, stay able and ready to make a quick, safe follow-up shot. Make sure that deer is dead before approaching it. If you do that, you’re less likely to be gored by a buck.


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