Can Shooting a Buck s Antler Kill It This Hunter Says He Did

Can Shooting a Buck s Antler Kill It This Hunter Says He Did Outdoor Life

Can You Kill a Buck by Shooting Its Antler? This Puzzled Minnesota Hunter Says He Did

A Minnesota deer hunter believes he killed a buck by shooting its antler, but he’s still confused. The 11-point buck became a 10-point after three shots were fired. No entry or exit wounds, blood trails, or bullet holes were found—just a broken-off left antler and a missing brow tine.

Stacy, the hunter, initially thought that the buck passed out and broke its back after he shot off its antler. However, he’s unsure if that alone can explain what happened.

Stacy speculates that the buck died immediately after it was hit in the left antler by a 12-gauge slug. The deer dropped instantly while the antler flew another five feet.

According to Stacy, he and his buddy, Tom, were hunting together when they encountered the buck. They had been sitting across from each other in a small piece of private land near Dexter. Both hunters were armed with 12-gauge shotguns.

As daylight dimmed, Stacy climbed down from his stand and met up with Tom. They anticipated encountering the buck as they walked back across the field together. They were right. When the deer jumped up approximately 35 yards away, Stacy missed his first shot.

The buck continued to flee. When it reached about 45 yards, both hunters fired another slug.

Can Shooting a Buck s Antler Kill It This Hunter Says He Did Outdoor Life

“He shot and I shot almost at the same time—mine was a second later,” Stacy recalls. “And then it dropped.”

Approaching the buck, they noticed that its left antler was broken near the base, lying roughly five feet away. They discovered no blood or visible wounds aside from a small amount of blood around its mouth. After gutting the deer, they noticed a prominent hump on its back. They concluded that Stacy’s slug must have hit the antler, while Tom’s shot struck the buck’s spine, instantly killing it. They hung the deer in the dark, assuming Tom had taken down the buck.

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The following day, as they loaded the buck into Tom’s truck, Stacy realized there were no visible wounds. He suspected that the buck might be his after all.

Perplexed, they consulted a processor for a second opinion. After skinning the deer and inspecting the hump on its back, the processor confirmed that the hump was a result of a previous injury surrounded by scar tissue. No other wounds were found, leading him to conclude that Stacy’s shot to the antler killed the deer instantly.

Though not proud of the shot, Stacy considers it one of the biggest bucks he’s taken in ten years. He plans to make a European mount but acknowledges that he’ll need epoxy putty and creativity to accomplish it.

Kip Adams, chief conservation officer of the National Deer Association, states that while he’s never heard of such an incident, it’s technically possible to kill a buck by shooting its antler off. He explains that a significant amount of trauma is required, and a 12-gauge slug is more likely to cause a fatal blow to the head compared to a typical rifle bullet.

“The shot probably hit the antler low, close to the pedicle,” Adams explains. “It would have to be an incredible amount of trauma, but if something just really rocked that antler base, I guess it’s possible that [the shot] could cause enough trauma to the front of the brain to kill it.”