February 19, 2016
By Haynes Shelton
In 2013, Mike Behrmann had gained hunting access to a new piece of ground through one of his coworkers. At work, Mike overheard that his friend had recently acquired some land that he used for recreational ATV riding and camping. Mike, optimistically hoping for the best, simply asked for permission to hunt. Luckily, it worked.
In 2014, Mike had spent significant time scouting the new ground and had seen some nice bucks. One of the best bucks was a 10-pointer that resembled the giant he hunted in 2012 . Mike would later find himself in a season-long quest for the trophy buck. After seeing the deer multiple times, Mike learned the hard way that the deer was bedding extremely close to his stand location.
Mike actually jumped the deer twice, and on the second of these occasions he forced off a quick shot at the retreating buck. Unfortunately, the speedy encounter ended in Mike's missed shot. Disgruntled, Mike feared that he was suffering under the grip of a 10-pointed curse.
As Mike's relationship with the 10-pointer grew increasingly ill-fated, he was eventually blessed with a chance encounter that turned the tide of his season. On December 2, 2014, after forgetting his safety harness in the truck, Mike made a split-second decision to hunt from the ground.
While sitting on the ground, wondering whether he should have just gone back to the truck and gotten his harness, Mike noticed movement coming over the crest of a neighboring hillside. Mike's decision was looking like it might pay off, and he was ready to put his shotgun to work on what was clearly a heavy-racked bruiser.
"As I was looking around, one hillside over from where I was sitting, I spotted a monster," recalls Mike. "I picked up my Remington 870 shotgun and watched as he came to within 120 yards. He was just standing there looking around. I definitely could tell he had heard my calls, but he was unsure which direction to turn. It seemed like he was standing there for hours, but in reality he was only there a matter of minutes.
"I picked up my gun, and I immediately started to shake," remembers Mike. "So I lowered my arm, took a couple of deep breaths to calm my nerves, and then grabbed my bleat can. I turned it upside down one time. The buck heard it, turned his head my direction and started walking right towards me. I raised my gun slowly, put my sight on him, and shot him at 75 yards. He ran down the hill towards me, up the creek about 150 yards and fell. He was down!"
After calling everyone he knew, including his wife and son, Mike finally headed home to take photos with his buck. He was determined to get good pictures of the deer, but a fast approaching snowstorm was reason for concern. Once he had gotten home, Mike struggled to find adequate lighting, and his pictures were coming out blurry.
After having waited so long to take a deer of this caliber, Mike was quickly becoming more and more frustrated at the poor-quality images. With the storm worsening quickly, Mike's deer seemed determined to dodge a mug shot.
What happened next seemed a miracle — and has probably made other deer hunters across the nation a little bit jealous. Seeing her husband's frustration mounting, Andrea told him to bring the deer inside the house.
Mike, stunned by what he was hearing, remembers Andrea's orders: "Next thing I know my wife was telling me to bring the deer inside the house. She was determined to get good photos, and the only way she could think to do so was to bring him inside. I remember asking her if she was serious. I asked, 'Who in the world takes deer inside the house to take pictures?' Andrea's response was priceless: 'We do.'
"My buddies just started laughing," Mike recalls. "A few seconds later, they stopped, shocked. They all said, 'Dude, I think she is serious!'
In disbelief, Mike consented: "Well, boys, you heard the boss. Grab a leg; we are taking him in.
"At that point Andrea was yelling at us to not mess up his hide!" Mike exclaims. "So that's the story of how we got the infamous living-room picture! Andrea ended up being more upset with the two flip-flops and the unfolded blankets on the couch."
Mike's impromptu living-room photo shoot proved immensely popular, and as he shared his photos on Facebook, things went viral quickly. Before Mike knew it, his deer was gaining recognition and popularity nationwide, and people had naturally named it the Living Room Buck.
Mike was encouraged and flattered by the outpouring of praise he received over the photos of his deer, and he wishes only to use the limelight as an opportunity for supporting safe hunting and the introduction of the youth to the outdoors.
"The moral of my story is no matter how rough, tough or bad things get, never give up," encourages Mike. "There is nothing more important to me than getting the youth involved in the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Getting the young generation outside is critical to the continuation of the sport. You can ask anyone I know; I preach this all the time.
"I am so thankful and grateful for all of the support that I have received over the photo of my Living Room Buck," says Mike. "It's truly amazing how many people enjoyed my picture, and even crazier that it went so viral on social media so fast. It feels good to know that people are not only impressed by my deer, but also by my awesome wife and awesome beard. One last thing, please everyone take the time to think about safety and always wear your safety harness."