A video taken by a Janesville hunter of his unusual encounter with a young and friendly buck has gone viral. Dan Hartley said that he was hunting with two friends in Vernon County in the US state of Wisconsin last weekend on 18 November when the incident took place.
Explaining the sequence of events, the 60-year-old – who has been hunting deer for four decades – said that he found a comfortable spot against an old tree to wait for his hunt that day. But that's when an eight-point buck came out of the woods about 20 yards away from where he had been sitting.
Hartley said that it was a young buck, and since he and his friends had already decided among themselves that they would not hunt young deer or antelope, he did not intend to shoot.
But that's when things started to get interesting.
Hartley tried to drive the buck away by loudly clicking his rifle's safety. However, the animal barely reacted and did not run away, which is unusual since deers and antelopes are known to generally scamper away when disturbed by humans.
Incredibly, the buck did the exact opposite by walking slowly towards him. "I thought he was just going to walk past me and keep going. Then I heard him smelling me from behind," Hartley told the Reno Gazette Journal newspaper.
The buck circled around him and then rubbed his antlers on his feet. Hartley said he tried to use his hands to push the animal away, but the friendly buck just would not stop.
The hunter also said that he had a loaded gun, but was "never going to use it on that guy".
Hartley then decided to film the encounter, thinking no one would believe him unless he had proof. He proceeded to take out his phone and record the incident.
He posted the seven minute video on Facebook later, which soon became viral, receiving 17m views and being shared more than 476,000 times.
According to Hartley, the encounter lasted for about 15 minutes and the buck eventually walked away.
"I guess you could say it was his lucky and my lucky day, too," he quipped.
What are the 'points' on a buck?
In hunting terminology, the 'points' on a buck are the tines (the branched horns) on the antlers, which includes the brow tine that sticks straight up near the base of the antlers.
People usually count all the points on the antlers, which makes sense as bucks do not always have the same number of tines on both sides. However, some hunters use the other method, which involves counting the tines on each side.
The more points a buck has, the more prestige the hunter receives if he/she manages to kill it.