The Follies of Tranquilizing Deer

Many of us deer farmers have had some pretty wild experiences when it comes to tranquilizing deer. Although there have been some improvements in the drugs recently, it still can be nerve rattling to put down one of your best deer.

Back before Telezol, straight Rompin was the drug most widely used. It was my experience that by using just Rompin, you would get the occasional deer that would fight the drug pretty hard. He would barely keep walking, maybe laying down but could get up and stay just ahead of you.

Such was the case a few years back when my son Jered and I went to put down one of our bigger bucks. I don’t recall why, but we had decided to take the antlers off this big guy. So, on a nice fall day we went to dart him. He was in a 50+ acre pen, so it turned out to be a hunt.

At last we located him and Jered made a good shot. We gave the buck ample time to succumb to the drug. Then we approached him. He looked like he’d stay put. WRONG!

As Jered went up to him, he struggled to his feet, got his balance, and half ran, half staggered toward me with Jered in hot pursuit. I was a little angry at this point and decided I’d had enough chasing this buck. I made a quick leap and grabbed hold of the buck’s hind leg. This is definitely a “don’t try this a home” maneuver.

Jered saw what I was attempting to do and quickly sprang into action. He would try to bum rush the buck and between the two of us, maybe we could keep him down. Unfortunately every time he approached the deer from the side, the deer leapt in the other direction. All of this while I hung on to one of the buck’s hind legs. (Believe me, I’m older and wiser now.)

I was being dragged around with the buck’s every leap. The more he tried to get away, the more determined I was not to let go. This went on for far too long! Finally Jered got the buck down and threw a blanket over his head. That, and Jered sitting on him, pretty well took the wind out of his sails.

I got up to my knees and then stood up. Much to my surprise and embarrassment, my pants and underwear were at my ankles. I had grass stains in places one wouldn’t expect. Jered and I had a good laugh and hope you do too!

By Jim Severt