Michigan man kills charging buck with belt, board


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Man says he killed deer with belt, piece of lumber after it charged him

Thursday, November 1, 2001

By TANDA GMITER, Michigan Live, Booth News Service

MANISTEE -- A Manistee man who said he was charged by a deer and spent more than a half hour wrestling with the 200-pound animal before he killed it, is upset that the Department of Natural Resources won't allow him to keep the venison and the buck's six-point rack as a trophy.

"I fought for my life with that deer and I think it should be mine," said David Gutowski, 41.

Conservation officers took the deer from Gutowski's home Tuesday, after he called the DNR to request a permit to keep the carcass. Gutowski said DNR officials told him they needed to perform an autopsy on the deer to check for disease and see if the body offered any clues to why the deer attacked him.

Officers also told Gutowski he could be ticketed because it was unlawful for him to kill the deer by strangling it with his belt and hitting it with a piece of lumber, he said.

DNR officials declined to discuss the deer's death, saying it remained under investigation.

"We're just very thankful that the person was not hurt," said DNR Lt. Dean Molnar, who works out of the Cadillac district office.

Gutowski, a painter, said his strange ordeal began about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, when he was looking for fishing lures along the shores of Manistee Lake near the Consumers Energy plant.

As he was walking, the buck jumped out of the woods about 20 feet away from him.

He said he tried to scare off the deer, but the animal charged and knocked him in the water. Alone and not knowing what to do, Gutowski said he grabbed the deer by its antlers and hung on.

"He was going to spear me in the guts if I didn't," Gutowski said.

What followed was an exhausting wrestling match that went on for nearly 45 minutes, he said.

"It was grunting and going crazy," Gutowski said. "I had my legs wrapped around its rib cage and I was squeezing for all I was worth. I was afraid to let go, for fear that it would kill me."

Holding the deer's antlers with one hand, Gutowski said he managed to undo his belt and wrap it around the animal's neck. He said he choked the animal until it was too weak to move, then used a piece of railroad tie he found nearby to club it to death.

Gutowski said he's hunted deer for more than 25 years with guns and bows, but never before has engaged in hand-to-hoof combat. He came away from the battle with some bruises, cuts from the antlers and a sore back.

"I didn't kill him on purpose; I was scared for my life," he said. "I promise I will never get into a fight with a deer again."

It's unusual for a deer to charge a human, wildlife experts say.

John Urbain, a big game specialist for the DNR, said the deer may have thought Gutowski was another deer challenging its territory. This instinct tends to be heightened during rutting season, he said.

"They are a little full of testosterone this time of year," Urbain said.


Well-known member
Aug 13, 2001
Reaction score
I love our DNR in MI....yea, right.  Either this guy is an idiot for making up a stupid lie and then calling the DNR or he is not lying and was at least honest enough to call DNR after he killed the thing.  I'm laying bets on the latter.  Our DNR is notorious for harassment.

Latest Posts

Top Bottom