Janesville hunter's encounter with friendly buck goes viral

A Janesville man was left feeling lucky after catching a close encounter with a deer on his phone.

Dan Hartley was hunting with friends over the weekend when he saw a buck nearby. 

"We decided we want bigger bucks on the property," Hartley said. "So to do that, you have to let them go so they grow bigger horns and you can get big racks like I have up here."

Hartley didn't want to give away his position but flipped the safety on his gun to try and spook the deer and run away. 

"That made him jump," Hartley said. "That's how skittish they are."

But it didn't go far. Hartley said the buck came over to him and walked behind him. The avid hunter he is, he thought he was camouflaged so well the deer didn't notice him but what happened next proved that was wrong. 

"He walked behind me and started smelling me and I'm like, oh my God," Hartley said. "All of a sudden he takes his nose and, it kind of lifted me off the ground a little bit. That's when I swung around and said, what's going on? He put his horns right on [his forearm] and it was on. We were tussling."

The deer was playing more like a rambunctious dog than a wild animal, rubbing its antlers on his pants and head-butting his shoes playfully. Hartley said he never felt like he was in any real danger. The antlers ripped his pants a little bit but he knew this was a once in a lifetime experience.

So with the deer on one arm, he used his other hand to get his phone out to get video evidence of the interaction. 

He and the deer wrestled for about seven minutes on camera. 

"I couldn't believe it," Hartley said. "It was unbelievable. I don't think anybody has encountered that. I've had them come pretty close but nothing like that where they actually engage with you. I was pumped. I can't believe this is happening."

It was only the first step of unbelievable things he'd encounter. He was way up north so he didn't have service to post the video on Facebook on Saturday. But when he headed home after the hunt, he posted it and it blew up. 

"You never thought in your lifetime you'd have a viral video," Hartley said. "Or have a buck that you actually jousted with and now I'm doing an interview on TV. Come on, my phone is ringing off the wall. It's definitely been an experience."

Hartley has received calls from overseas about the video and he's done numerous phone interviews because of what happened. While the video is gaining international notoriety, he's even being noticed back here at home. 

"I told my chiropractor about it," Hartley said. "I went back today and he said he had three or four people say, 'did you see that video?'"

Hartley didn't walk away empty-handed from his hunt. He said a few hours after his encounter he landed a doe. But with an epic video in one hand and the doe in the other, he says that's not the point of why he loves hunting. 

It's all about sharing the experience. 

"It's a friendship," Hartley said. "It's talking about what you seen, watching squirrels go by you thought was a deer. The wind, sitting out there. You're in nature. Crows squawking, turkeys gobbling. It's awesome. Peaceful. Nothing like it."

With the luck of having a deer come up to him and the video going viral, Hartley said his wife made him buy a lottery ticket on top of it all. 

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