Oh Deer, It’s The Rut

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

Nov. 10, 2004

Oh Deer, It’s The Rut

Forget what other hunters tell you about their field and forest experiences. When stories about whitetail deer crashing through picture windows and trashing homes and offices begin hitting the wire services, it’s a sure sign that the rut is in full swing. In other news, the Outdoor News Hound reports on sportsmen’s Election Day victories, and more.

Concerto Interruptus

A North Dakota piano teacher was with a student last week when a whitetail buck crashed into the room through a narrow window and sent the pair scurrying to the backyard for safety. From outside, West Fargo resident Melissa Horky watched in horror as the deer relentlessly crashed through her house for more than 10 minutes, breaking windows and seriously damaging the home’s contents.

J.R. Absher

A neighbor who witnessed the incident said the deer finally escaped through an open door. Authorities said the deer later succumbed to its injuries.

As for the Horky family, they spent the remainder of the week in a hotel while their house was being cleaned and repaired.

Deer Checks Itself In

Also last week, in Belleville, Ill., an 8-point buck that had apparently been hit by a car checked itself into St. Elizabeth’s Hospital — entering the facility through the convenient automatic doors.

“It went through the automatic doors into the main lobby and wandered toward what we call the West Wing,” according to Tom Vernier, a St. Elizabeth’s spokesman.

Animal control authorities were summoned and the deer was tranquilized and removed.

There were plenty of jokes flying around about the situation, but it could have been dangerous, Vernier said.

“There was considerable potential for damage and injury with a deer roaming the halls,” he said. “We were very fortunate.”

Buck Stops Here

And finally, in Hopwood, Pa., a small buck broke a carpet showroom’s huge plate glass window and then proceeded to leap through the dining room window of a neighboring home — exiting the house by crashing through the living room window.

Martha Polito, who manages the carpet store, said she’d never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

“I looked up and it was an explosion,” Polito said. “I’ll never forget that sound. The deer broke into the window, leaving big pieces of glass.”

Next door, John O’Brien crawled into a broken window and found himself face-to-face with the frantic, rut-crazed buck. The deer raised its front hooves and leapt through the living room window — disappearing into nearby woods.

“It was pretty wild,” O’Brien later told the local newspaper. “I’m an avid deer hunter, but I think the deer would have won that one.”

Alaska, Maine Bear Initiatives Defeated

It was a clean kill for bear hunters in both Maine and Alaska on November 2.

Voters decisively shot down a ban on black bear baiting in Alaska, 59 percent to 41 percent. If passed, baiting or intentionally feeding a bear for the purpose of hunting, photographing or viewing, would have become a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. In Alaska, only black bears are baited, as biologists have determined it is the most viable methods for hunting the species.

In Maine, voters rejected a similar initiative that would have banned bear hunting with the use of dogs, bait as well as all bear trapping. With a tighter margin than Alaska’s vote, Maine’s issue was rejected by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. Pre-election polls suggested the measure would be defeated by a comfortable margin.

It is estimated that pro-hunting coalitions spent $1.5 million for the Maine defensive, and around $700,000 for the Alaska campaign. Both campaigns relied heavily on television advertising. Though unsuccessful, national animal rights and anti-hunting groups combined to spend hundred of thousands in an effort to end these bear hunting methods.

Maine and Alaska are two of nine states where baiting is utilized for black bear hunting. In addition, a total of 29 states currently have huntable bear populations, and 15 have hound hunting/pursuit seasons.

B.A.S.S. Founder To Iraq

The incomparable, energetic founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Ray Scott, has announced he has finalized arrangements to make a 10-day trip to Iraq and visit U.S. troops stationed there. Last week, Scott’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, reported that Scott, 71, decided to go to Iraq after visiting with servicemen at Ft. Hood, Texas, last year.

“These guys need a reason to smile, and I’ve got enough fish tales to last the entire time,” Scott said.

Also last week, Scott was inducted into the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Dania Beach, Fla.

Quote Of The Week

“To find birds you’ve got to go where they are. Not where they ought to be. Not where you’d like them to be. Not where they’d be easy to shoot. You’ve got to go where they are at that particular time of the day, that particular stage of the season, and during that particular kind of weather. You’ve got to know your quarry as a ward-heeler knows his constituency.”

-Havilah Babcock

“Sometimes You Can’t Find Them”

“Outdoor Life,” 1947

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. Visit his Web sites, The Outdoor Pressroom (www.outdoorpressroom.com and The Outdoor Weblog (www.outdoorweblog.com ) to find the latest outdoor news of interest. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@outdoorpressroom.com.

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