Chickasawhatchee WMA Buck Attack

Crazed buck charges Albany bowhunter... twice!

GON Staff | December 1, 1998

The opening morning of gun season found most deer hunters climbing up a tree with their favorite deer rifle. Mark Schroeder, of Albany, decided to leave the crowds and spend his gun season opener at Chickasawhatchee WMA with his bow. Even though his bowhunt only lasted 15 minutes, it a hunt that will remain in his memory forever.

At daylight on Saturday, Oct. 24, the last day of archery season on the WMA, Mark was easing through a hardwood bottom looking for a tree to hang his stand on. During his search, he heard a deer running in his direction. It was barely light, but he could see antlers. The buck stopped just out of bow range and began to rub a tree.

“The buck had one side of his rack outside his ear, but the other side came down below his face,” said Mark.

The buck was rubbing every tree in sight, and this behavior led him into a 20-yard broadside shot. Mark drew back, but he realized it was too dark to see through his peep sight. Using instinctive shooting techniques, Mark flung an arrow but missed.

Instead of running, the buck walked off a few yards and went right back to rubbing and began making scrapes, as well. Mark nocked another arrow and decided he would wait until he could see his sights.

“There wasn’t a tree he didn’t rub or an over-hanging branch that he didn’t make a scrape under,” said Mark.

Mark watched for about five minutes when the deer did something even crazier.

“The next thing I knew he came running toward me,” he said.

Mark drew his bow back, but the arrow fell off the string and the bow dry-fired. The deer just kept coming. While trying to nock another arrow, Mark had to back-step to get away from the deer.

“The buck stopped about 5 yards from me and turned broadside,” he said. “I drew back, but it was still too dark to see through the peep site. I went ahead and shot anyway, just trying to hit the deer and get him away from me.”

He missed a second time, and the buck ran off about 30 yards. Once again, he went right back to rubbing and scraping.

A few minutes later it was shooting light, and Mark had stalked within 15 yards of the buck. Just before pulling his bow back for a third shot, the buck turned and again ran directly at Mark. The buck stopped in front of him, so he had to back-step around the deer to get a broadside shot.

“By this time, he was two to three steps from me, and I nailed him right behind the shoulder,” said Mark.

“The buck must have been hit by a car a couple of days before because his skull was cracked open right behind the antler. The only thing holding the antler was the hide. The right eye was swollen shut.”

Apparently, brain damage as a result of the injury was the cause of the strange behavior. When the right antler and skull fragment were held in place, the 3 1/2-year-old 6-point had an 18-inch inside spread.

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