Video: Youth Hunter Shoots Off Whitetail Buck’s Antler

A decent-size whitetail buck steps onto a picked cornfield, and a youth hunter fires his .308 bolt-action. What happens next has to be seen to be believed.

Video: Youth Hunter Shoots Off Whitetail Buck’s Antler

In the 5-minute YouTube video below, Brodie Swisher is filming his son Rembo during an afternoon whitetail hunt in Tennessee. Only 10 minutes after getting in a pop-up ground blind, Brodie and Rembo spot a decent-size buck feeding in a picked cornfield.

What happens next has to be seen to be believed. Brodie says Rembo must have had his “eyes on the prize” when he squeezed the trigger of his .308 bolt-action because the bullet sends the buck’s left antler flying. (That exact moment is captured in the video screen-shot above.) While it’s not unexpected that the buck hit the ground from the bullet-to-antler base impact, I am surprised the buck didn’t get back on his feet 5 to 30 seconds later.

The hunters do a good job approaching the fallen buck with gun at the ready. This is no time to assume the deer is dead.

Brodie immediately recognizes that a dead deer will have its eyes open, and this buck’s eyes are closed. Bullet impact to the base of the antler has stunned the deer; he’s knocked out but very much alive. They don’t show it on video, but Brodie explains they finished off the buck with a follow-up shot.

In the comments section of his YouTube post, Brodie doesn’t provide any details regarding what he believes went wrong during the moment of truth. In the video, you hear Brodie say to his son, “Put it right on his heart.” Then, Brodie does a great job stopping the walking buck with a loud bleat. The buck is standing in a perfect position, slightly quartering away.

Judging by their hike from the ground blind to the buck, with Rembo having the gun on his shoulder for the early part of the walk, I’m thinking the shot distance was about 150 yards. This isn’t a long shot for someone with substantial hunting and shooting experience, but it’s also not a “chip shot,” especially for a youth hunter.

While waiting in the ground blind, Brodie has Rembo set up with a solid rifle rest that fully supports the gun in a horizontal shooting position. But even with this advantage, bullet impact was off the heart/lung area by approximately 12 inches left and 24 inches high. Assuming Rembo was excited — and I know I’d be! — this is a substantial miss from 150 yards with a rock-solid rifle rest.

After watching the video, I found Brodie’s Hunting Roots podcast, and I listened to the December 7 episode where Rembo tells his dad that he thinks the rifle wasn’t sighted in properly, even though his brother killed a deer with the same rifle just a few days prior. Brodie tells Rembo that he’ll test the gun after the podcast and then report his findings later, which he did on his December 14 episode.

It turns out Rembo was correct. With a solid rifle rest, Brodie discovers that the rifle is shooting about a foot left and 2 feet high. And Brodie then confesses that he had knocked the gun to the floor in the backseat of a vehicle prior to Rembo’s hunt and failed to check the gun’s zero after the incident. Obviously the fall affected the scope’s zero in a big way! 

Thankfully Rembo’s marginal first shot didn’t result in a wounded buck. Lesson learned: Don’t assume a blow to a scope won’t affect its zero.


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