Sure signs of the whitetail rut? Alert hunters report!

J.R. AbsherIt’s November, and that means the deer are at the peak of rutting season in many regions of the country. In typical Offbeat Outdoors fashion, this week we offer some especially wild examples of what can happen during rutting season, as only we can!

Leave that dog alone!

What’s a sure sign the whitetail rut is in full swing in your region? How about when you see a buck trying to mount your springer spaniel?

Bill Lindberg stepped into his Siren, Wis., backyard and saw a single-antlered young buck lying on the ground and peering into the doghouse. Approaching the deer while readying his camera phone, Lindberg was surprised to see the deer get up and walk toward him—so close that he was able to reach out and scratch the buck’s head.

The relative calm was short-lived, however.

When Lindberg’s springer spaniel came out of the doghouse, the deer suddenly turned amorous and tried to mount the unreceptive hound.

In an effort to protect his dog from the buck’s romantic intentions, Lindberg grabbed a broom and began yelling at the deer. That’s when the deer turned and became aggressive.

According to a report in the Inter-County Leader newspaper, Lindberg hollered to his wife to phone authorities as he grabbed the buck’s antler and bulldogged it—rodeo style—to the ground.

The ensuing wrestling match lasted a long five minutes before police arrived and a local game warden dispatched the rut-crazed buck.

When faced with a lovelorn buck in the future, does he think he’ll try to rub its head?

“When deer go through rut, they become like a stupid, careless animal,” Lindberg said. “This is something that will never happen to me again.”

Close call for Grandma

Our next stop is Battle Creek, Mich., where a rut-crazed whitetail buck crashed through the front window of an 84-year-old woman, leaped over the rocking chair where she sat, and generally made a big mess of her home before trapping itself inside her bathroom.

Neighbors watched the deer break into octogenarian Irma Beard’s home and were hot on its trail to check on the occupant’s safety.

“This happened so fast and they were right here for it,” Beard later told a columnist for the Detroit Free Press. “Of course, they knew the deer was coming because he was fooling around over in front of their house.”

When police arrived, they removed the deer from Beard’s bathroom, where it had evidently closed the door and trapped itself.

“I was sick with a cold and I was just sitting in the chair, rocking back and forth,” said Beard. “He came right over my knee. Boy, that was close!”

Bully buck vs. faux elk

And finally, here’s an Offbeat Outdoors story to file under the heading of “be careful who you pick a fight with.”

It’s also a great indicator of when the whitetail rut is well underway in the state of Wisconsin.

A 7-point buck point obviously chose the wrong adversary in his testosterone-induced attempt to exhibit male dominance when it challenged a 640-pound concrete elk statue in the yard of Mark Brye in rural Viroqua, Wisc.

Brye told outdoor writer Bob Lamb of the LaCrosse (Wisc.) Tribune that each morning he looks out in his yard at the stately bull elk given to him by his son and daughter because he likes to hunt elk out West. But one morning, the bull, well, wasn’t exactly standing upright.

The massive molded ungulate was instead resting on its side, its antlers broken and scattered in pieces on the ground.

And there, some 20 feet away, lay the 180-pound lifeless buck, its skull crushed from its repeated impact with the unforgiving lawn ornament.

Brye snapped a photograph to document the bizarre battle and its aftermath.

“I could tell the buck poked the statue a couple of times by the chipped paint on it,” Brye said, adding that the deer must have rammed it like a mountain goat because of the damage inflicted to its own antlers and body.

A Wisconsin DNR conservation officer investigated the unusual incident and tagged the buck for the family’s personal use. The resulting venison tenderloins will undoubtedly generate plenty of stories as they are savored as table fare at the Brye household in coming months.

And what about the battered bull elk?

Brye says he might attach the buck’s antlers on the bull to mark the fateful November battle, though he could use some help to return the heavy statue to its feet.

“I can’t tip it back up until I get a whole bunch of guys to help me,” he said.

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