A hunter in Swainsboro, Georgia, shot his biggest buck to date at the end of November, but a standard retrieval mission turned into a serious struggle when the apparently dead 10-pointer got up and attacked him. The deer gored hunter Jonathan Stevens in the thigh, who was then taken to the hospital. Doctors said the buck’s antler had missed a major artery by half an inch.
Stevens shared his story with Georgia Outdoor News, telling the outlet that he was hunting a food plot on his home property when a big 10-pointer stepped out behind a couple of does. After making the shot, which he said was a little low, Stevens waited for at least 30 minutes before stopping at home to get his truck and ask his wife to help him load the deer.
The two followed a blood trail and found the buck lying still in some vines. When Stevens bent over to touch the deer, it sprang to its feet and attacked him. He tried wrestling the animal away from him, then scrambling clear of the buck. But the wounded buck was too much to handle and one of its tines caught Stevens deep in the thigh.
“I was trying to hold onto his antlers, but his antlers had caught in my pants leg and I couldn’t get away from him,” Stevens told GON. “The fight probably lasted 30 seconds, but it seemed like an hour. My wife was screaming and hollering. I weigh 230 pounds, and he was flinging me around like a balloon. He finally tore my pants off and ran off.”
With his pants removed, Stevens could see right away that he was badly hurt. Blood was pouring from his thigh into his boot, and his leg was starting to go numb. With help from his wife and relatives who live nearby, Stevens was rushed to the local hospital. From there he was transferred by ambulance to a trauma center in Augusta. Doctors determined that the antler had penetrated 6 inches into his thigh—all the way to the bone—and had missed a major artery by less than an inch.
“The doctors there said that if the antler had gone in me a half-inch off to the side, it would have hit an artery, and I would have bled to death right there.”
Stevens was sent home after the wound was drained, and he was given antibiotics to prevent infection. When he was released, the first thing he wanted to do was see the buck, which his sister and brother-in-law had tracked down while he was in the hospital. They found the 10-pointer roughly 160 yards from where the attack occurred, and this time, the deer was stone-cold dead.