Wisconsin pheasant hunter has run-in with S.D. buck

White Lake, S.D. — A Washington County hunter was left bruised, battered, and bleeding after a fast-moving white-tailed buck ran smack into him during a pheasant hunt near White Lake, S.D.

Adding insult to his injuries, the buck took off with the hunter’s favorite shotgun when the sling wrapped around the fleeing buck’s antlers.

Calvin Steinert, of the Washington County town of Fillmore, was with a group of Wisconsin hunters that included Jeff Steinert, Dale Spaeth, Eric Spaeth, Russ Parsons, Mike Parsons, and Brad Repinski on their annual trip to South Dakota.

The hunt got off to a bad start Oct. 22 when a skunk sprayed Hannah, one of their dogs, right in the face as the group hunted through a sorghum field. The female springer spaniel came up to Calvin Steinert at the end of the field. He knew immediately what had transpired.

“She was rubbing her face on the ground,” Steinert said. “She was all yellow in the face.”

Eric Spaeth had a “deskunking compound” along, so that mishap was short-lived.

The next day, Steinert was watching a beaver swim in a creek he was standing by when a big rooster took off. He dropped the bird, and when he picked it up, the sky opened and everyone got soaked.

Later in the day, some of the group went back out hunting, but Steinert decided to rest a little so he could hunt hard on Saturday.

“I cleaned my gun up – pulled it all apart and oiled it,” Steinert said about his Mossberg Flex 500 All-Purpose shotgun, his favorite shotgun because it fit him perfectly.

On Oct. 24, the group decided to make a drive along a shelter belt on top of a hill. The cornfield there had alternate sections of standing stalks and stalks the farmer intentionally knocked down for wildlife cover and food. Steinert was the side blocker in the outside section of knocked-down corn. He walked about 30 yards ahead of the main group to be in position to get a shot at any rooster that ran ahead before flushing.

Two golden retrievers were working the standing corn on Steinert’s side. He said the dogs made a lot of noise as they crashed through the dry corn.

Halfway through the drive, one of the hunters called for Stella, one of the retrievers. Steinert heard something in the corn and thought it was the dog.

“I looked over, and 10 feet away is a deer coming with his head down and going full tilt,” Steinert said. “I thought, oh no. I quick raised my leg (in front of him) and it ran into me.”

He remembers his gun being pulled from his grip before he hit the ground.

“I thought I broke my femur,” Steinert said. “It hurt that bad.”

The buck’s head hit Steinert’s cell phone in his pants pocket. The phone sustained a small scratch, but Steinert fared far worse.

Several men from the group rushed to Steinert’s aid and asked if he was OK.

“No,” he replied several times. “It hurts.”

Steinert’s hands were bleeding, and he had a scrape on his head. He looked around for his gun, but it was gone. Mike Parsons told Steinert he heard him yell, “Buck, buck,” as he got run over, but Steinert could not remember that.

Dale Spaeth ran to get an ATV to take Steinert to their truck, but as he was running, Spaeth pulled a hamstring. Spaeth eventually hobbled to the ATV, returned with the machine, and the group helped Steinert into the seat.

“When I sat up it was like somebody hit me in the head with a sledge hammer,” Steinert said.

The rest of the group meticulously searched the length and width of the corn field, but they could not find Steinert’s shotgun. Eventually they concluded the buck’s antler got caught on the sling and the deer ran off with the shotgun strapped to its head.

“We never found the gun,” Steinert lamented. “It’s loaded.”

Steinert contacted local law enforcement officers and South Dakota conservation wardens to report what happened. The officials were sympathetic. They said that if the gun turned up they would contact him.

Steinert did not need medical attention, but he was sore and stiff for a week after the incident, he said.

Now he wonders if some lucky deer hunter in South Dakota will shoot a buck with some baggage hanging from its head. If that happens, he hopes to be reunited with his favorite shotgun.

“All in all I was very lucky,” Steinert said. “I was darn lucky I didn’t get speared by an antler. If I hadn’t raised my leg he would have ran right into my guts.”

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