Crazy Video: Bowhunter Stalks Mule Deer Buck That’s Holed Up in a Barn

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, this mule deer video proves there’s no limit to the strange encounters bowhunters can have in the field.

Crazy Video: Bowhunter Stalks Mule Deer Buck That’s Holed Up in a Barn

Before you read further down this page, I ask you to watch the 5-minute video below featuring bowhunter Charles Schoening. Trust me — even though the video was posted to YouTube in spring 2013, so the Canadian mule deer hunt likely took place during late-summer 2012, it’s worth your time.

As I began watching this video, I assumed it was a spoof. Did you?

Is it possible for a wild mule deer or whitetail to use an old barn for bedding and to escape the hot midday sun in open habitat? Sure. But the chances of someone self-filming such a hunt are remote at best. 

When Schoening aims through the relatively small hole in the side of the barn, I thought: No way. This guy is shooting a 3-D target. After he hits it, he’ll take the camera inside the barn, show us the target, then maybe explain an earlier stalk here on a real animal.

But then, after the arrow ricochets off the barn walls, the perfectly healthy velvet-racked mule deer races from the hideout. Lucky for Schoening, the buck stops just outside the barn and offers a broadside second shot. Amazing.

As stated in the video, this was the second mule deer buck that Schoening successfully stalked and killed that was holed up in this barn (back to back archery seasons). There’s no way to know for sure, of course, but I think it’s likely the two bucks spent time together in a summer bachelor group. They probably bedded together in this barn a time or two — or regularly — to escape the hot midday sun.

For the past 25 years, I’ve spent a lot of time bowhunting in eastern South Dakota, and while I’ve never spotted a deer inside an abandoned barn, I have seen droppings and deer hair in barns, proving that whitetails use them. Many times I’ve spotted deer bedding in the shade of old barns, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that they’d eventually go inside, too. 

This video illustrates that deer are tremendously adaptable. Watching this video reminds me of a large and brushy cattail swamp where I’ve searched for whitetail sheds in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mature bucks in this area prefer to bed beneath a highway overpass. This is a four-lane divided highway with a speed limit of 60 mph, and tens of thousands of vehicles pass on this road daily. It’s one of the busiest roads in all of Minneapolis for persons commuting to and from work. The support structure for the overpass is so low to the swamp that I can barely stand upright as I walk under it. And yet whitetails bed there regularly, during summer to escape the hot sun, and during fall and winter to escape cold rain, sleet and deep snow.

Deer are often predictable in their travel patterns and behaviors, but videos such as this one remind us that mule deer and whitetails will often do whatever is necessary to survive.


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