The aggressive animal was fiercely guarding the deer
Steve Karapetian had been bowhunting on his father-in-law's Michigan property for three days without any luck. The third day was coming to a close, but he wasn't ready to give up. He gave it just a few more minutes and his determination paid off with a nice buck and an usual encounter.
I'd been sitting in the tree all afternoon and all I saw were some button bucks," Karapetian said. "I was watching them play around as the sun started to fade and was glad I at least saw something. The two little button bucks were running down one of the trails toward me when I started to hear something rustling in the woods. I shifted around to peak at what was back there, but couldn't get my eyes on it. Then I turned to look over my left shoulder and in walks a nice buck.
Karapetian said he put a good shot on the deer, and at the time thought that was that. He watched the deer run off into the woods, called his father-in-law, Sam Salem, and asked him for help tracking the buck.
It was starting to get dark and the deer left not the greatest blood trail.
We tracked it until 9:30 that night," Karapetian said. "We had to cross the road and lost the trail a bit. I started worrying that we were pushing the deer, so we decided to back out and look for it in the morning. Of course, I worried about it all night. Did I wound the deer? Will I find it?"
The two men picked up the trail where they left off the next morning and discovered a good bit of blood 40 yards from where the deer crossed the road.
I followed the blood along a ridgetop and down into a little valley. When I looked up, I saw a pile of fur in a large pile of sand that I've never seen before on the property. I thought, 'What in the world am I looking at?' I called over to my father-in-law and then all of the sudden I hear a growl. I'm wondering if it's a coyote or a bear. I took a few more steps and it growled again.
Then, Karapetian spotted the culprit through the trees. It was a badger next to his deer, which was covered in sand.
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My father-in-law told me to go get the deer, but those badgers are nasty. That thing had claimed my deer. It probably thought it'd hit the jackpot and it wasn't going anywhere. My father-in-law fired a copule of shots into the ground to try to scare it off, but it wasn't flinching. He put a few more into the ground and it still wouldn't back down. Then he shot right next to the badger and sprayed sand up in its face. It finally shot down into its hole and that was the last we saw of it, Karapetian said.
He said he can't help but wonder if the deer rolled off the ridge into the little valley at the base of the badger's den, or if the badger stumbled upon the deer and dug a den right next to the body.
"I don't think it could have drug that deer to its den," he said.
The badger went to work on the deer's hind quarters. He got a nice meal out of it. We gutted and cleaned the deer and left the badger a nice gut pile before we took the deer away. The whole experience was super fun, and of course, finding my deer was a big relief, he said.