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Man, dog, have scary run-in with deer north of Park Rapids

Tal Heldt shows off the cuts on his head and the glass on his front seat where a deer went through his driver's side window last week. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

By Sarah Smith

In the tales of the white tails, this one’s a doozy.

Thursday afternoon Tal Heldt was headed home from hunting near Itasca State Park when he saw a deer scoot across Highway 71 near Trail & Lakes Sports north of Park Rapids.

He slowed down and was nearly at a stop.

Somehow, the deer, probably spooked by dogs, had doubled back across the highway and came crashing through his driver’s window, locking horns with Heldt’s forehead.


The buck’s antlers took the pickup window out, scraped Heldt’s face, almost punctured his ear and then staggered back.

Tal Heldt went head to head with a buck. (Submitted photo)

The guy behind Heldt screeched to a halt, likely more in horror than anything else, and came to his aid.

Heldt was bleeding and shaken with his lap full of glass, but alive.

His constant companion, a white fluffball dog, accompanied him that day.

Harley wasn’t riding shotgun. He was on Heldt’s lap when the deer crashed their ride.

Harley was fine and a bit shaken by all the commotion, Heldt said.

The deer was last seen running down the shoulder of the highway.

Heldt took a selfie (a self-taken photo with his cell phone), cleaned himself up and emailed the newspaper, still bleeding.

He arrived with a front seat full of glass, a goose egg on his forehead and a very calm pup on his arm.

Heldt's truck suffered a major dent where the deer bounced off it. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

The truck had a major dent on the driver’s side where the deer bounced back off it.

Heldt took the pickup to the glass repair shop.

He and Harley are back on the road, no worse for wear. But at least one of them will have the scars to show for the confrontation.

“I’m sure he’ll have deer nightmares for a while,” Heldt said of his furry friend.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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