Roping a Deer

Actual letter from a cattleman who tried to rope a deer.

I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, feed it out on corn, then eat it.

The first step was getting a deer. I figured that since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me, it should not be difficult to rope one, toss a bag over its head to calm it down, then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid behind it with my rope. The cattle had seen that rope before and knew what it did, so they stayed well back lest I rope them — they were having none of that!

After about 20 minutes, three deer showed up. I picked one, stepped out, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold. The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the rope. I took a step toward it…it took a step back. I put a little tension on the rope and battle began!

The first thing I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you when you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on the rope. That deer EXPLODED!

The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. I could pull down a cow or a colt of the same weight with a rope and still maintain my dignity. I learned that there is no chance of that with a deer. That crazy animal ran and bucked and twisted and pulled with all its might. 

There was no controlling it and I certainly didn’t want to get closer to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground. It occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good of an idea as I had originally imagined. It had me.

The upside is that deer don’t have as much stamina as most other animals. Ten minutes later, as I managed to get up, it was not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me as it first did. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. About this time, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. 

All I wanted to do was get loose from the devil creature at the other end of that rope, but I figured that if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die a slow and painful death some somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer — I know hated the thing, and ventured a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots now appearing on my head from trying to arrest the deer’s momentum by banging my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some responsibility for the situation we were in, so not wanting the deer to suffer a slow death, I manage to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder — a little trap I had setup beforehand…like a squeeze chute.

I got it to back in there and started moving closer so I could get my rope back. Did you know that deer bite? They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite, so I was very surprised when I reached up to grab that rope and the deer bit into my wrist! Holy cow! Such pain!

Now, when a deer bites you, it’s not like being bit by a horse where they just bite and let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts, and they shake and twist!

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is to freeze and draw back slowly. Instead, I tried screaming and shaking. Not a good idea! My method was ineffective. This went on for what seemed like several minutes.

Still thinking I was smarter than the deer, in my cleverness, or so I thought, while I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope off the deer’s head. That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior.

Did you know that deer will strike at you with their front feet? They rear right up on their back feet and strike at your head and shoulders with those vicious hooves. I also learned that their hooves are surprisingly sharp. 

I learned a long time ago that when an animal like a horse, strikes at you with their hooves and you can’t easily get away, the best thing is to try and make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal to frighten it off. 

This will usually cause the beast to back down so you can escape. However, this animal was not a horse or a cow. This was a wild deer, so obviously, such trickery did not work.

Eager to win, in a millisecond, I devised a different strategy: I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run.

The reason I had always been told NOT to try and turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that if you turn your back, it will hit you in the back of the head with those mighty hooves, causing damage.

That’s when I learned that deer may not be so different from horses after all. Besides being twice as strong and three times as evil, I learned deer will also strike at your back. You see, the second I turned to run, the crazy deer hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down! That’s when I tried religion and cried out to Jesus to save me! Save me Jesus!

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect either it is seeking revenge, wants to teach you a lesson, establish supremacy, or does not recognize that the danger has passed. So, what they do instead is paw at your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there covering your head crying like a little girl.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. Now I know why people don’t go deer hunting with a rope, but from a safe distance with a rifle and a scope, just to even the odds.

(Name withheld due to embarrassment)


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