Special to The Crossroads Chronicle from Georgia Outdoor News
Taking a trophy buck is a dream of every hunter. For Jonathan Stevens, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
Stevens was hunting a food plot behind his Swainsboro home in Emanuel County when a routine situation suddenly turned into a life-and-death struggle.
“I was hunting a food plot behind my house and two does came out,” he said. “The sun was getting low. About 200 yards away this big 10-point, the biggest buck I have ever seen, came out. I got a good prop and made a good shot.
“I sat there for probably 30 to 45 minutes. I got down and reloaded the gun. I trailed good blood for 40 to 50 yards. That’s when I decided to go to the house and get my 4×4 and my wife to help me load him up.”
When Stevens and his wife returned, they found the buck laying still in some vines. The only problem was that the seemingly dead buck wasn’t dead.
“This wasn’t the first deer I ever killed,” he said. “I’ve retrieved deer many times before. He looked dead, but as soon as I touched him, he came back to life. He stood up and it was on. He attacked me.
“I was trying to hold onto his antlers, but his antlers had caught in my pants leg and I couldn’t get away from him. The fight probably lasted 30 seconds, but it seemed like an hour. My wife was screaming and hollering. I weigh 230 pounds, and he was flinging me around like a balloon. He finally tore my pants off and ran off.”
That’s when Stevens realized he was hurt, hurt badly.
“I looked down and blood was pouring—I mean pouring—out of the inside of my thigh,” he said. “My boots were filled with blood. My leg was going numb and getting cold. The hole was no bigger than my thumb, but the muscle from inside my leg was hanging out of the puncture wound that the antler had made.
“My wife helped me get into the 4×4 and back to the house.”
Relatives rushed Stevens to a local hospital, but he was quickly transferred by ambulance to the trauma center in Augusta. Meanwhile, his sister and brother-in-law went looking for the buck. It had run about 160 yards after the attack and died.
In the hospital, it was discovered that the antler had penetrated a full 6” into the inside of his thigh. It hit bone.
“The doctors said that if the antler had gone in me a half-inch off to the side, it would have hit an artery, and I would have bled to death right there,” he said. “Infection was the main concern. They opened the wound up to let it drain. They gave me antibiotics four times a day. My leg turned blue, black and purple. They eventually sent me home.
“I have to keep checking back with the doctors. Hopefully, everything will work out. They want me to stretch my leg and walk on it, but the muscle was ripped. I’m hoping I don’t walk with a limp forever.”
Once home from the hospital, one of the first things Jonathan did was go see the deer and pose with it for a photo.
“It is the biggest deer I have ever killed,” he said. “It’s my first 10-pointer. The taxidermist said he thought it was 6-years-old. It weighed 186 pounds.”