Gene Novikoff was watering a shrub outside of his Cameron, Montana, home last August when he was assaulted by an unlikely attacker: “He had me cornered and lowered those antlers,” he says. “Here I am, 80 years old, wrestling with the damn thing. I fell over, and then he really went to work on me.” The perpetrator was a 3-year-old muley buck, which stomped Novikoff for five minutes. When the deer became distracted by its reflection in a nearby car, the octogenarian crawled into the house, bellowing to his wife for his .22. He fired six shots–hitting the buck in the rump–before it ran off. Novikoff was left with a cracked rib, cuts, and almost a hundred bruises.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” says Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Marc Glines. “He looks like he went to a biker bar and got beat up.” Glines had already been hunting the belligerent buck, which over the summer had invaded garages, harried anglers, and been twice nailed with bear spray after chasing kids.
Glines eventually found the wounded animal and put an end to its suffering–and its hooliganism. “That deer wouldn’t have made it through the winter,” he says. “Not to mention hunting season.” –TYLER D. JOHNSON